Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has a new job lined up as ambassador to India—but with his apparent breath-holding abilities, he might want to consider a career as a pearl diver. The mayor was mocked this week after he said he was holding his breath in a photo where he was seen maskless at SoFi stadium during Sunday's NFC Championship game, Deadline reports. Garcetti and other Democratic politicians, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, were maskless in photos Magic Johnson tweeted from a box suite at the stadium.
"I wore my mask for the entire game. When people ask for a photograph, I hold my breath," Garcetti told reporters when he was asked about the photos at a press conference Wednesday, per ABC7. "There is a zero percent chance of infection from that." But whether he was breathing at the time or not, the mayor was still technically violating a Los Angeles mandate that requires people at "mega events" to wear a mask unless they are "actively eating or drinking." The rule will remain in force at the stadium for the Super Bowl later this month.
Newsom and Breed have been strongly criticized on previous occasions for violating COVID restrictions. Newsom said Monday that he had been "very judicious" about wearing his mask and only removed it for the photos and to have occasional sips of water, the AP reports. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Hallie Balch accused the Democrats of hypocrisy. "When it comes to their own enjoyment, they violate state mandates as well as stadium mandates," she said. Garcetti told reporters that if it "makes you and everyone else happy—or even the photographs with people where literally I’m holding my breath for two seconds—I won’t even do that," reports the Washington Post. (Read more California stories.)