House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday complained that her caught-on-video visit to a San Francisco salon that was shuttered because of coronavirus regulations was a "setup" — and the owners should apologize to her.
"It was clearly a setup. I take responsibility for falling for a setup by a neighborhood salon that I've gone to for years. And that's, that's really what it is," Pelosi told reporters at an event in San Francisco.
"I think that they owe, that this salon, owes me an apology for setting me up," the powerful California Democrat said.
Pelosi went to the salon on Monday for a blow-out, Fox News reported on Tuesday. Salon owner Erica Kious told Fox News that Pelosi's assistant had set up the appointment with an independent stylist who rents chairs in her salon.
Kious said in a virtual press conference on Thursday that she does not recall Pelosi ever visiting the shop prior to this incident and that the speaker is using her and the stylist, Jonathan DeNardo, as a "scapegoat."
"For the Speaker of the House of the United States to go on TV and falsely claim she was set up and publicly defame me and send out PR firms to spin more lies by Jonathan in support of the speaker's own lies is bad enough," Kious said. "But for Speaker Pelosi to frame herself as a victim under a total false narrative while small business and workers all over California, the state she represents in Congress, suffer and struggle just to survive is beyond shameful."
"I don't owe anyone an apology," she added, "Mrs. Pelosi owes the entire country an apology."
San Francisco salons were closed for months as part of Mayor London Breed's emergency coronavirus regulations. They were allowed to reopen for outdoor service on Tuesday.
Klous told Fox News that Pelosi visiting, “was a slap in the face," adding, "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 noted that the appointment was made ahead of time, and said the stylist could have and should have said they were not open.
"If the salon is saying that we're able to do this but, and they're not, then they should not have said that, and they should not have been open for me to go there but we trusted a neighborhood salon that I've been to for years," she said.
"I'm not going into as to the motivation of a salon to say to me, yes, come in and then they go from there. It was clearly a setup," Pelosi said.
Kious told Fox News on Wednesday night that Pelosi's setup allegations were "hurtful," and questioned why if it was safe for Pelosi to go to the salon it wasn't safe for others.
DeNardo, the stylist who did Pelosi's hair, put out a statement late Wednesday through his lawyer saying Kious had approved of Pelosi's visit, and that she hadn't received any special treatment because the salon has been operating since April in violation of the city's orders.
DeNardo alleged that Kious has been “actively encouraging and almost forcing” stylists to come to work during the crisis because they pay to lease the chairs in the salon. He also said Kious made "several vitriolic and incendiary comments" about Pelosi because she blamed her for shuttering the business, even though that's a decision Pelosi was not involved with.
The lawyer, Matthew Soleimanpour, said DeNardo had proof of some of his claims, including video and photos of Kious styling clients' hair and not wearing protective equipment over the past few months.
No one picked up the phone at the salon on Wednesday or Thursday. The business's voicemail was full on Wednesday, and not operational on Thursday.
Pelosi, who's repeatedly chastised her Republican colleagues for not wearing face masks, defended her own lack of a mask in the video.
"I just had my hair washed. I don’t wear a mask when I am washing my hair. Do you wear a mask when you are washing your hair? I always have a mask. I always have a mask. For me, the people I am encountering, but for my family as well. But I don’t wear it when I am getting my hair washed and that picture is when I just came out of the bowl getting my hair washed," she said.
Pelosi told reporters she's gotten moral support from other area salons.
"I have been inundated by people who are in the hair service industry, saying, thank you for calling attention to this, we need to get back to work. We need to get back to work. And many of them annoyed at the setup that was there for a purpose that has nothing to do with ending the crisis," she said.
President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter on Thursday, criticizing Pelosi for taking off her mask and asking, "Does anyone want a Speaker of the House who can be so easily SET UP?"
The president, who spoke on the phone for several minutes to a prankster posing as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez in 2018, added in a later tweet, "Maybe the Beauty Parlor owner should be running the House of Representatives instead of Crazy Nancy?"
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeatedly played the video of Pelosi at her press briefing on Thursday.
"Apparently, the rules do not apply to Speaker Nancy Pelosi," said McEnany, who's refused to wear a mask at several public events with the president during the pandemic.