AUSTIN, Texas – Austin Mayor Steve Adler has publicly apologized for taking a trip to Mexico in November while telling Austinites to stay home to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“While I violated no orders or guidelines, I regret this travel,” Adler said. “I wouldn’t travel now, didn’t over Thanksgiving and won’t over Christmas. But my fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior. In hindsight, it set a bad example, for which I apologize.”
The trip to Cabo San Lucas with his family, brought to light by the Austin American-Statesman, came after he hosted an outdoor wedding and reception for his daughter in Austin. To some, Adler’s trip came off like a case of “do what I say, not what I do,” and Republican politicians were quick to seize on it and criticize the mayor.
Retweeting a CNN story about public officials appearing not to adhere to COVID-19 guidance, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, lumped Adler in with leaders he characterized as “hypocrites.”
“Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites. And don’t forget @MayorAdler who took a private jet with eight people to Cabo and WHILE IN CABO recorded a video telling Austinites to ‘stay home if you can…this is not the time to relax.’”
Donald Trump Jr. criticized the mayor as well, retweeting a local media report and writing, “These people are the worst. Enough is enough!!!”
On Tuesday, Texas reported more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19, setting a new single-day record. After Adler returned from the trip, local health officials elevated the city’s COVID-19 guidance ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday to Stage 4, which discourages nonessential travel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.