Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico found himself in an online family feud of sorts after attending his daughter’s wedding in Florida just a week after warning his suburban constituents that a mask mandate might be in order to combat a surge of the coronavirus.
The suburban mayor was publicly shamed by his niece, a former BuzzFeed personality, who tweeted that she was “fuming” after learning her uncle traveled to Naples, Florida, to attend the wedding, which she said included at least 50 guests.
“I can’t believe I have to say this but if you are HAVING A WEDDING THIS WEEKEND WITH UNMASKED PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE something is wrong with you!!!!” Kristin Chirico tweeted Saturday.
A photo allegedly of the mayor and others at the wedding also appeared on Twitter. None of the people in it were wearing masks.
The father of the bride pushed back against the wedding zinger.
“My family and I all took COVID tests and tested negative prior to traveling to Florida this weekend for my daughter Jenna’s wedding,” Mayor Chirico said in a statement issued Sunday. “It was an outdoor wedding and reception with a total of 53 guests. Upon my return to Naperville, I will be quarantining and testing again.”
People from both ends of the political spectrum weighed in on the suburban mayor’s decision to attend the wedding.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker criticized the mayor during his coronavirus briefing Monday, saying “that’s precisely what we ask people not to do.”
Former Republican gubernatorial and congressional candidate Jeanne Ives said in a Facebook post Steve Chirico “is proving to be just like all the other hypocrite Democrats in this state.
“More egregious is when he took a knee to a mob of people he didn’t know this summer insinuating that he sided with them against policing and then afterwards he allowed his city to be vandalized by thugs,” the post reads in part. “Total disgrace.”
Steve Chirico, who was first elected mayor of the state’s third largest city in 2015, told the Daily Herald in September he’s been a Republican his entire life, though he backed Democratic challenger Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in this month’s election.
The mayor’s Facebook page includes numerous posts about COVID-19 precautions, including photos of him with the slogan “Safer at Home” and written postings and a YouTube video of him urging residents to “Please follow the 3Ws: WEAR a mask, WATCH your distance and WASH your hands.”
At a virtual town hall meeting last week, the mayor said the suburb was considering a city ordinance mandating face coverings to fight the spread of the coronavirus even though there’d be “a lot of criticism for it,” the Daily Herald reported.
With their eyes on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the head of the state’s public health department, have repeatedly asked the state’s residents to continue to wear their masks and keep their distance from people not in their households.
And they warned against using testing as an excuse to gather with loved ones.
Last Thursday, Ezike said to those hoping to get tested for the virus and then see family that “that only works if you haven’t exposed yourself to anyone in the 14 days from when you got tested to when you meet up with your friends and family.”
“So, when you are around other people, you can be exposed to the virus at any time,” Ezike said during a coronavirus briefing last week. “So, while I do want to encourage people to get tested, just remember a negative test does not get you a free pass to celebrate Thanksgiving in person.”
The mayor’s niece, Kristin Chirico, who has 93,048 Twitter followers, posted a follow up tweet saying she has nothing more to say to reporters about her uncle, although she did respond to a number of online replies — both positive and negative.
“I suppose you need a life,” one Twitter critic tweeted at her. “Say goodbye to your family. You just lost them. Got your 15 minutes. Hope your [sic] happy. Little snot.”
Kristin Chirico responded: “Lmaoooo don’t threaten me with a good time.”
This is about my uncle Steve Chirico, the mayor of Naperville, IL, and his wife, and several of his kids that are all at a wedding right now with at least 50 people at it. I actually don’t need to protect these people, because they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. https://t.co/8AJ96sRKxy
— Kristin Chirico (@lolacoaster) November 22, 2020