Secretary of State Mike Pompeo found out what happens when you send out 900 invitations to an indoor holiday party during a pandemic that has killed at least 300,000 Americans: not that many people show up.
The Tuesday event for the families of diplomats in high-risk locations was hosted by Pompeo and his wife, Susan, in Washington, D.C. As of Monday night, only about 70 people had accepted their invitations, and even fewer showed up, two U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post. Pompeo had been scheduled to speak, but canceled his address and had someone else deliver a message in his place, the Post reports.
Government health officials have urged people not to attend indoor gatherings amid the pandemic, and several lawmakers and the American Foreign Service Association, a nonpartisan union representing diplomats, asked Pompeo to cancel the party over concerns it would be a super-spreader event. The State Department had said masks would be required and social distancing enforced; photos obtained by the Post show a masked Santa greeting children, with maskless people sitting down to eat around him.
One woman, the wife of a diplomat now overseas, told the Post she RSVPed no on her invitation over worries that if she became sick, there wouldn’t be anyone to take care of her children. “It was a completely irresponsible party to throw,” she said.
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