A testy Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she would not apologize for visiting a San Francisco hair salon, even though the city still does not allow indoor beauty services because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And the Democratic House Speaker called Monday’s visit a “set-up.” In fact, she said it was the salon that owes her an apology for tricking her into visiting by misrepresenting city health orders.
“I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon that I’ve been to over the years many times, and that when they said … we’re able to accommodate people one person at a time, and that we can set up that time, I trusted that,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday. “As it turns out, it was a set-up.”
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“I take responsibility for falling for a set-up,” she said.
Matthew Soleimanpour, an attorney for the stylist that Pelosi booked, said his client received permission from the salon owner a day earlier to make the appointment.
During that telephone call the owner, Erica Kious, “made several vitriolic and incendiary comments about Speaker Pelosi,” Soleimanpour said in a statement.
“It appears Ms. Kious is furthering a set-‐up of Speaker Pelosi for her own vain aspirations,” the statement said.
Kious went on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlon Tonight” to deny the accusation from Pelosi —
Erica Kious, owner of the salon Nancy Pelosi claims set her up, rips into @SpeakerPelosi on Tucker:
"If she is in there comfortably without a mask and feeling safe, then why are we shut down?" pic.twitter.com/GJuTK9AlVh
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 3, 2020
Pelosi is facing fierce backlash after surveillance footage leaked from inside the salon showed her walking through the salon with her hair wet and with a mask around her neck rather than on her face. In the clip, a masked stylist follows her.
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Critics, including President Donald Trump, called her a hypocrite and asked why she did not know the coronavirus-related rules in her home city.
Kious, owner of ESalon SF in the city’s upscale Cow Hollow district, said she rents chairs to stylists, and one of them informed her in advance that Pelosi wanted a wash and blow dry. California guidelines on salons vary by county, but stringent San Francisco officials have not yet permitted indoor salons to open.
Kious said she considered Pelosi getting her hair done “a slap in the face” to struggling business owners that are forced to remain closed.
Health order violations can be punished by a fine, imprisonment or both. But San Francisco has stressed education over enforcement and has been reluctant to penalize businesses and individuals.
Pelosi said Wednesday she would not answer any more questions about the visit and asked at one point whether reporters had any questions “about the fact that people are dying,” referring to the HEROES Act legislation she called the news conference to address.
A reporter asked why she was not wearing a mask in the brief clip.
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“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 have a mask,” Pelosi said.
A local CBS News reporter shared her opinion on Pelosi’s denial of responsibility on social media.
The closed signs on the salons might be a good indicator.
One near my parents' house had a sign that said "CLOSED because of California Gov. Newsom." https://t.co/268bibEA1H
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) September 1, 2020
WATCH FOR YOURSELF: Nancy Pelosi salon video sparks huge outrage
The Associated Press contributed to this article