Denver, Colorado Mayor Michael Hancock told the city’s board of ethics that though his Thanksgiving travels were a mistake, they were not a violation of the city’s ethics.
Hancock sparked backlash in late November when he tweeted to citizens to “avoid travel” 30 minutes before he boarded a flight to travel to visit family for Thanksgiving. The mayor had repeatedly urged others to avoid traveling for the holiday.
Denver resident Tonia Wilson filed a complaint over the mayor’s behavior to the city’s Ethics Board in January, according to the Colorado Sun. The complaint said that Hancock’s decision to travel while telling citizens to stay home showed that Wilson “abus(es) his office for his own benefit and for the benefit of his immediate family members.”
The ethics board voted unanimously in January for the mayor to provide a formal response, according to the Sun. The ethics board is expected to consider the complaint against Hancock when it meets on Wednesday.
Hancock told the board that Wilson’s complaint “seems to rely on incorrect facts and/or assumptions,” though he did not specify what was incorrect, the publication reported.
“I regret my decision to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday,” Hancock wrote in his formal response. “It was a mistake for which I have taken responsibility and apologized to the people of Denver.”
“Pass the potatoes, not COVID,” Hancock’s account tweeted 30 minutes before he boarded the plane, according to 9News. “Stay home as much as you can, especially if you’re sick. Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners.”
Pass the potatoes, not COVID.
🏘️Stay home as much as you can, especially if you’re sick.
💻Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners.
❌Avoid travel, if you can.
🍲Order your holiday meal from a local eatery.
🎁Shop online with a small business for #BlackFriday. pic.twitter.com/acQpWs2Ism
— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
“Avoid travel, if you can,” the tweet continued. “Order your holiday meal from a local eatery. Shop online with a small business for Black Friday.”
A Hancock spokeswoman confirmed that the mayor was traveling to Houston that day and emphasized that Hancock was “traveling alone to join his wife and daughter where the three of them will celebrate Thanksgiving at her residence instead of having them travel back to Denver.”
“Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine,” the spokeswoman said at the time.
The mayor later apologized for his actions, tweeting, “As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others … I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel.”
Hancock’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.