House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is speaking out after footage leaked of her recent visit to a San Francisco salon, prompting outcry and accusations that she had violated local coronavirus ordinances. Addressing the backlash Wednesday, Pelosi claimed that the scenario was a "setup" by the salon’s owner, something that the owner, Erica Kious, has denied.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference just a day after Fox News published the leaked footage, Pelosi declined to apologize for the private visit, instead stating that she takes "responsibility" for falling for what she dubbed a "setup," according to ABC News. She said that she trusted "the word of the neighborhood salon" that she has visited numerous times over the past several years, adding that "When they said that we're able to accommodate people one person at a time, and that we can set up that time, I trusted that." She later added, "this salon owes me an apology, for setting me up," though she declined to explain why she believed her visit was a setup.
"There's more to this that I'm not going into as to the motivation of a salon to say to me, 'Yes come in' ... it was clearly a setup," she said. "I take responsibility for falling for a setup. I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I've been to for years."
Her remarks followed fierce public backlash, including from that of President Donald Trump and other Republicans, regarding the visit. Video from the visit, leaked by the salon's owner, showed Pelosi and the stylist in the salon, despite guidelines as of Monday that did not permit salons to open for service. Pelosi also drew backlash for failing to properly wear a face covering, as one was seen around her neck but not covering her nose or mouth. During her Wednesday remarks, Pelosi defended this.
"I just had my hair washed. I don't wear a mask when I'm washing my hair. Do you wear a mask when you're washing your hair? I always wear a mask," she said, echoing a statement from her spokesman, Drew Hammill, which said Pelosi always complies with guidelines and wears a mask. "And that picture is when I just came out of the bowl."
Despite her claims of a "setup," the salon's owner, who told Fox News that she had been made aware of the visit prior to it happening and called it “disturbing,” denied the accusation. Speaking with Fox News' Tucker Carlson, Kious said "there was no way I could've set that up." Calling Pelosi's claims "absolutely false," Kious added that she's "had a camera system in there for five years. I mean, I didn’t go in there and turn cameras on as soon as she walked in and set her up."