- Arizona's governor was caught socializing at a party without wearing a mask or observing social distancing.
- Republican Gov. Doug Ducey reportedly attended the party last month before reversing his policy banning local governments from mandating mask-wearing, eventually telling Arizonans to "arm yourself with a mask."
- The Grand Canyon State is nearing 124,000 total COVID-19 cases, weathering over 3,000 new cases per day on a seven-day rolling average after their record was set at 4,797 on June 30.
- The governor's chief of staff described a tweet sharing the photo with an incorrect date as a "smear campaign."
- "I think Doug Ducey is one of the bad actors he warned about that led to the rise in cases we're seeing right now," Carter Santini, the 23-year-old who posted the photo, told Insider. "I want Doug Ducey to resign and hand control to someone who cares about us."
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A surreptitious Snapchat captured Arizona's governor hanging out at a party without a mask and not observing social distancing last month, despite the governor presiding over one of the nation's most severe coronavirus outbreaks of late.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey told constituents in mid-June to "arm yourself with a mask," reversing his stance on face coverings after banning local mask-wearing orders.
At the time of the party on June 6, Ducey was still blocking municipalities from enacting mask orders.
Arizona has seen one of the steepest spikes in COVID-19 nationwide through June and early July, breaking their record for new cases in a single day and suffering at least 2,250 deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
The Grand Canyon State is now sitting at almost 124,000 total cases, weathering over 3,000 new cases per day on a seven-day rolling average after their record was set at 4,797 on June 30.
In the photo, Ducey was reportedly at a graduation party for seniors of Brophy College Preparatory School in Phoenix, where tuition runs up to $14,650 per year.
He was caught on camera by a party-goer before the image ended up in the hands of Carter Santini, a 23-year-old law school student who graduated from Brophy in 2015.
Santini, who told Insider he is a Phoenix resident, eventually tweeted the photo on July 12 out of frustration over the governor's response to the outbreak — particularly regarding his urging for the public to wear masks despite holding off on a statewide order.
"I think Doug Ducey is one of the bad actors he warned about that led to the rise in cases we're seeing right now," Santini told Insider in a direct message on Twitter. "I want Doug Ducey to resign and hand control to someone who cares about us."
The July 6 date of the party in the screenshot Santini posted alongside the photo was incorrect, with the event taking place on June 6 instead.
Ducey's chief of staff, Daniel Scarpinato, took exception to the error, describing Santini's tweet as a "smear attack."
"This was a smear attack that was factually incorrect to create an illusion that the governor was out over Fourth of July weekend," Scarpinato told The Arizona Republic. "It was a family event. It was a graduation, and he stopped by to say 'happy graduation.'"
Shortly after the photo began circulating online, Santini began trading barbs with some of the governor's staff, including his communications director.
Santini responded to the "smear attack" defense from the governor's office by arguing Ducey should be held to a higher standard as governor when it comes to COVID-19 precautions.
Santini, who attended Brophy with Ducey's eldest son, has gotten more than 3,300 retweets and 11,200 likes on his tweet calling for the governor to resign in the two days since he posted it.
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