"I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head," tweeted Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, addressing his constituents after leaving the state for a Thanksgiving celebration despite many times telling those in Denver to avoid doing so.
Mayor Hancock sparked controversy after leaving Colorado for Mississippi on Wednesday morning to spend Thanksgiving with his wife and daughter, who were already out-of-state. According to Hancock, his daughter had recently taken a job in Mississippi and he felt that it would be safer for him to travel there for holiday celebrations opposed to them traveling to Colorado.
"I made my decision as a husband and father," said Hancock. Hancock had previously announced that his family had canceled their traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration, though Hancock did not share that another multi-household inter-state gathering would be taking its place.
"I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone," stated Hancock.
In weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, Hancock repeatedly encouraged Denverites to avoid gathering with anyone outside of their household. On the day of his trip to Mississippi, Hancock's Twitter account tweeted instructions to "avoid travel, if you can" and to "host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners."
As might be expected, Hancock's decision prompted a large amount of online backlash.
Hancock's series of five tweets issuing the apologies garnered hundreds of likes, but thousands of comments. The majority of those comments seem to express anger at his decision.
Twitter user @kymmikaes wrote "I have voted for you, supported you, and defended you [...] I am so damn embarrassed and pissed off."
Twitter user @mtsmith81 wrote "If you had any respect for the office or constituents, you'd resign."
"I don't care if you went or stayed home," wrote Twitter user @FuTB12, "Just don't order others to do what you won't do."
Read the full Hancock apology below:
I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. (1/5)— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver. (2/5)— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone. As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others... (3/5)— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
...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. (4/5)— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020
I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head. (5/5)— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020