Nancy Pelosi is responding to sharp criticism after the House Speaker received a shampoo and blow dry at an indoor salon in San Francisco earlier this week in violation of health orders from the city's Department of Public Health.
At a news conference Wednesday, the Democrat said when she was told the salon could accommodate one person at a time, she trusted that, but "as it turns out, it was a setup." Security footage from eSalon on Union St. showed Pelosi with wet hair inside and what appears to be a face mask around her neck.
"So I take responsibility for falling for a setup," Pelosi added.
The salon's owner, Erica Kious, told Fox News that an independent stylist saw Pelosi at around 3 p.m. Monday, adding the visit was “a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in and I can't work."
Pelosi's staff fired back.
"The Speaker always wears a mask and complies with local COVID requirements," Pelosi's Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill said in the statement. Hammill wrote that the salon advised Pelosi that one customer was allowed inside at a time and that she complied with the salon’s instructions.
Pelosi's stylist, Jonathan DeNardo, reportedly rents the chair from the salon's owner.
DeNardo released a statement to KCBS Radio late Wednesday, claiming he did have permission from Kious to schedule the Speaker's appointment. The statement also accuses Kious of operating eSalon, despite San Francisco and statewide health orders, as far back as April.
In response to press inquiries on the matter, Mr. (Jonathan) DeNardo can confirm that he indeed did provide professional stylist services to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) on August 31, 2020, at the "eSalon," located at 2288 Union Street in San Francisco, California. Mr. DeNardo, at all times, took all requisite safety measures throughout his appointment with Speaker Pelosi, including sanitation of all service areas and wearing of CDC recommended protective equipment, and thereafter ensured the premises were similarly sanitized following Speaker Pelosi’s departure.
Mr. DeNardo has worked at eSalon for approximately six (6) years and regularly communicates with the salon owner, Erica Kious. In fact, Mr. DeNardo received advance approval from Ms. Kious the day prior to the appointment during a telephone discussion on August 29, 2020 at 9:26 pm, where in Mr. DeNardo advised Ms. Kious that he would not proceed with Speaker Pelosi’s appointment without Ms. Kious’ authorization. Ms. Kious took special interest in the appointment during this telephone call, wherein she made several vitriolic and incendiary comments about Speaker Pelosi and her purported responsibility for temporarily suspending operations of Ms. Kious’ business, despite such orders actually being put into place not by Speaker Pelosi, but by Governor Gavin Newsome and San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Ultimately, Ms. Kious authorized Mr. DeNardo to proceed with Speaker Pelosi’s appointment.
This office is in possession of photographs, videos and witness information that Ms. Kious, contrary to her prior statements to the press, has actually been operating her business during the stay-at-home orders and similar executive orders limiting in-store operations since as far back as April 2020. Ms. Kious is seen on photographs and video footage styling various clients’ hair, ignoring social distancing guidelines, and not wearing protective equipment (masks), as recently as a few days prior to Speaker Pelosi’s arrival at eSalon on August 31, 2020. What’s more, Ms. Kious has also been actively encouraging and almost forcing stylists who operate at eSalon to violate such orders for her own financial benefit in the form of receiving lease payments. The fact that Ms. Kious is now objecting to Speaker Pelosi’s presence at eSalon, and from a simple surface-level review of Ms. Kious’ political leanings, it appears Ms. Kious is furthering a set-up of Speaker Pelosi for her own vain aspirations. Mr. DeNardo’s name has now been dragged through the mud for simply following Ms. Kious’ recommendations; he wishes to move forward with his efforts to earn an income and asks that his privacy be respected during this time.
San Francisco attorney and Republican National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon told KPIX-5 this is another example of the "rich and powerful" doing what they want.
President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter.
In speaking with KCBS Radio's "Ask An Expert" earlier Wednesday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed sidestepped the issue.
"Nancy Pelosi has done so much for this city and even this country," Breed said. "In the midst of this pandemic and all the stuff that's happening around this election, she is in Washington, D.C. fighting against a tyrant every single day."
KCBS Radio has reached out to Kious for comment, but has not yet heard back.
Hair salons have been closed since March and outdoor service was allowed starting Tuesday.