SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday spoke out about the controversy surrounding her recent indoor visit to a San Francisco hair salon, calling the incident “a set up.”
The house speaker’s hair stylist backed that claim and said the salon owner did indeed set the whole thing up.
Through his lawyer, Jonathan Denardo said e-salon owner Erica Kious approved the appointment and during a conversation over the phone Denardo says Kious made several comments criticizing the House Speaker.
The stylist’s lawyer says Kious had been violating the health order for months before the House Speaker’s visit and says, “It appears Ms. Kious is furthering a set-up of speaker Pelosi for her own vain aspirations.”
Pelosi has been excoriated on social media for her Monday visit to a Union Street salon that was first reported by Fox News.
Surveillance video showed Pelosi inside eSalon on Union Street in San Francisco without a mask, according to Kious. She reportedly provided the video to Fox News and said Pelosi got her hair done at around 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.
Though Pelosi seemed to be wearing a mask around her neck in the clip, it appeared that the appointment was in direct violation of San Francisco’s health order prohibiting hair styling indoors.
While a statement released by Pelosi’s office Tuesday afternoon denied any wrongdoing or negligence, Wednesday marked the first time she commented on the incident to the press.
Pelosi maintained that she trusted the salon when she was told she could be given an appointment for a wash and blow dry, but went on to say she was set up.
“I take responsibility for trusting the word of a neighborhood salon that I’ve been to, over the years, many times,” said Pelosi. “And when they said we’re able to accommodate people one person at a time, and that we can set up a time, I trusted that. As it turns out, it was a set up. So I take responsibility for falling for a set up, and that’s all i’m going to say on that.”
Pelosi went on to say that she felt the salon “owes me an apology for setting [me] up” but also noted the incident points up the need for businesses to reopen this business sector.
“I have been inundated by people who are in the hair service industry who said, ‘Thank you for calling attention to this. We need to get back to work,'” Pelosi said. “Many of them are annoyed at the setup that was there for a purpose that has nothing to do with ending the crisis. There’s more to this that I’m not going into. It was clearly a set up.”
Pelosi was already getting more criticism from her GOP adversaries over her statements on the controversy. The House Judiciary GOP Twitter account said she should “take responsibility for her actions” instead of blaming others, asserting that “she doesn’t actually care about working class Americans.”
Instead of blaming others, @SpeakerPelosi should take responsibility for her actions.
But she won’t because she doesn’t actually care about working class Americans.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) September 2, 2020
President Donald Trump tweeted about the original story earlier Wednesday morning, saying that the salon owner “must really dislike Crazy Nancy Pelosi.”
The Beauty Parlor owner must really dislike Crazy Nancy Pelosi. Turning her in, on tape, is a really big deal. She probably treats him like she treats everyone else…And she strongly supported a Kennedy who just lost in, of all places, Massachusetts!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2020
Kious, who rents stylists chairs at the salon and reportedly learned about one stylist’s plan to provide the Speaker a wash and blow dry the day before the appointment, told Fox News she felt Pelosi’s visit reflected a double standard, She said she considered the service “a slap in the face” to business owners who have been shuttered during the pandemic.
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“The Speaker always wears a mask and complies with local COVID requirements. This business offered for the Speaker to come in on a Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business. The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment,” read a statement issued Tuesday by Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill.
Some San Francisco business owners KPIX 5 spoke with did not agree that assessment.
“It’s infuriating, but it’s not surprising. I feel like people need to get their hair done and they’re going to, at any cost,” said Priscilla Kangas who owns nearby salon SF Color Collective.
She said that Pelosis actions are a sign that San Franciscos COVID-19 restrictions are too stringent.
“I feel like at this point, it shows that we should be allowed to open,” explained Kangas. “I think that’s the bottom line is that if she feels comfortable getting her hair done inside of an establishment, then why can’t the rest of us?”