White House chief of staff hosted 70-person wedding in Georgia despite COVID-19 restrictions: report

Mark Meadows
Mark Meadows

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to the press in Statuary Hall at the Capitol on August 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have publicly downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and failed to acknowledge the value of social distancing measures. One such Republican is White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who — according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution — hosted a “lavish wedding” in Atlanta in May that violated the city and state’s social distancing guidelines.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, has been an aggressive supporter of social distancing in her city and has had some major disagreements with Georgia’s far-right Republican governor, Brian Kemp, over the coronavirus pandemic — which, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 1 million people worldwide and over 212,000 people in the United States. Back in May, under Bottoms’ stay-at-home order, gatherings of more than ten people were prohibited in Atlanta — and Georgia had a statewide social distancing order as well at the time. But according to Atlanta Journal Constitution reporters Patricia Murphy and Greg Bluestein, the wedding that Meadows hosted for his daughter had about seven times as many people.

“The wedding took place May 31 at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Midtown Atlanta,” Murphy and Bluestein report. “The 70 or so guests, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, donned tuxedos and ball gowns for the indoor affair, but no masks, as Meadows walked his daughter, Haley, down the aisle through a path of soft white flower petals. With crystal chandeliers, marble floors and a frame of soaring Roman arches, the lush scene could have come from any wedding magazine — were it not taking place at the height of a global pandemic.”

During the summer months, Kemp was criticized by many Democrats, including Bottoms, for being too quick to ease Georgia’s coronavirus restrictions. But according to Murphy and Bluestein, Kemp’s statewide coronavirus restrictions were still in place when Meadows hosted that wedding.

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“Although the state of Georgia had loosened some restrictions by the end of May,” Murphy and Bluestein explain, “Gov. Brian Kemp’s orders at the time expressly banned gatherings of more than 10 people. The statewide order in effect — which Kemp signed on May 12 — restricted gatherings of more than 10 people so long as they’re not ‘transitory or incidental,’ or spread out across different locations.”

The reporters note that “pictures of the wedding reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution show groups of people clustered closely together in the same room throughout the evening. Under that emergency order, law enforcement could have potentially written citations to the venue for exceeding the gathering size.”

Five months later, Murphy and Bluestein point out, Meadows is facing “intense criticism” for his leadership during the outbreak of COVID-19 infections plaguing the White House — and for a September 26 ceremony for Judge Amy

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Mark Meadows broke COVID-19 rules with 70-person wedding: report

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly hosted 70-plus people for his daughter’s wedding in Atlanta, breaking state COVID-19 rules.
  • Photos show guests maskless at a lavish indoor ballroom, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was also reportedly at the event. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly hosted more than 70 guests for his daughter’s wedding in Atlanta in late May, despite COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time.

Photos obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show people in close clusters, dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns, and without masks at a lavish indoor venue on May 31.

At the time, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp limited gatherings to 10 people to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

The party took place at the upscale Biltmore Ballrooms in the city, with “crystal chandeliers, marble floors and a frame of soaring Roman arches,” according to the AJC. Attendees enjoyed a live band with a three-course dinner.

There were 11 bridesmaids and eight groomsmen in attendance. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was also reportedly at the event. 

Meadows did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment. The White House also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

That same weekend, protests over the killing of George Floyd unfolded outside the White House. The day after the reported wedding, President Donald Trump participated in a widely criticized photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church when National Guard and Park Police troops cleared demonstrators from Lafayette Square with tear gas.

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