Austin Mayor Steve Adler apologizes for taking Mexico trip while urging residents to stay home: ‘I made a mistake’

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(KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler says a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, he took in November for his daughter’s wedding was “a mistake.”

In a letter on Saturday, Adler apologized for the trip, which he took as he urged residents to stay at home to stop COVID-19 spread in the Austin-Travis County area.

Adler wrote:

Let me start by saying I know that my actions let down the community this week.  I should not have taken the trip with my family.  It was a bad choice, and I apologize.

That trip set a bad example. Many in our community are hurting so badly and not able to travel, and others who are able have chosen not to travel under similar circumstances. That I took that trip and at the same time continued to urge people to be cautious is confusing.  In my position, I need to send a clearer message.

At the time, I did not see the more important and greater issues because I was too focused on making sure that Sarah’s wedding and my family’s trip complied with local and state orders and guidelines.  That focus was wrong because I missed the larger context in a really big way.

I need to hold myself to a higher standard and one that does not compromise the message that we need to be careful until vaccinations are administered to the community. I fear that my actions might result in some others taking riskier behavior during the higher “Orange,” Stage 4, we are now in.  I was wrong in part because this is exactly the result I have been working so long to avoid.

So long as the virus is here, it is always safest to stay at home.  We are not asking everyone to sequester themselves at home, however, and your behavior outside the home should be guided by the color-coded risk chart [click here for chart].

I made a mistake, and I apologize to the community.  I will work to re-earn your trust.

Mayor Steve Adler

Adler previously said he regretted attending the outdoor wedding, for which he and his family took a private plane. In a statement earlier this week, Adler said, “In hindsight, even though it violated no order, I set a bad example for which I apologize.”

The criticism of Adler’s trip stems from months of advice and orders for residents to resist non-essential travel. In a Nov. 9 pre-recorded video, Adler spoke to residents, saying, “This is not the time to relax… We may have to close things down if we’re not careful.”

That video, however, was recorded while Adler was in Cabo San Lucas.

Adler reasoned that he took the trip during a “safer period,” during which the area was under a Stage 3 safety recommendations. Austin-Travis County is currently under stage 4.

The mayor, who has been applauded for his response to the coronavirus, was fiercely criticized for the travel choice throughout the week, with some even calling for his resignation.

The incident even made international headlines, with coverage on the BBC.

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