Politicians are often accused of being out of touch with “normal” people and acting as they please.
A group has assessed whether this is true of their behaviour during the pandemic by making a ‘Covid hypocrisy tracker’, mapping and listing times in which US politicians have broken Covid regulations that they enacted.
The map, created by right-wing American think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, shows 75 instances in which US politicians have broken or bent their rules from March 2020 to present.
It accuses Joe Biden of not wearing his face mask correctly in January, despite urging everyone to mask up.
Meanwhile, it calls out New York mayor Bill de Blasio on two occasions– one for going to a gym at the outset of the pandemic, despite advising others to avoid them, and again for attending Times Square on New Year’s Eve,despite telling New Yorkers to avoid the area.
The interactive tool provides links to newspaper articles, highlighting the politician’s indiscretions. As well as displaying them on a map of America, it lists them in chronological order to create a naughty politician timeline.
Andrew Cuomo – the former New York governor who has just resigned amid sexual harassment allegations – is another politician to be called out by the think-tank. He was forced to cancel Thanksgiving plans with another household after a furious backlash and, in July, was seen hugging a city official without a mask, and then travelled to Georgia against state guidance.
Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, and Muriel Bowser, mayor of the district of Columbia in Washington are the most serial offenders, according to the think-tank. Both politicians are listed as breaking their rules five times.
Perhaps as an oversight, the right-wing think tank appears to have a blind spot when it comes to Republican politicians breaking rules. The list only includes Democrats, despite multiple Republican politicians breaking Covid rules including Denver mayor Michael Hancock, who travelled to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, after telling people to: “Pass the potatoes, not COVID... Avoid travel.”
He also told his followers to “avoid travel, if you can,” “stay home as much as you can,” and “host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners.” He later apologised.
Meanwhile, Austin Mayor Steve Adler urged residents in Austin, Texas, to stay home and “not relax” about the pandemic last November.
It later emerged that he had issued his rallying call while he was on holiday in Mexico – notably not in Texas.
Nevertheless, if you take it with a large pinch of salt and realise their political bias, it’s a pretty thorough tool.