More photos of Justice Min. not social distancing at wedding
New photos showing Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security breaking the coronavirus rules at his wedding have surfaced. The photos published by Shownieuws show the Minister shaking hands and embracing his mother-in-law.
Grapperhaus was under fire last week after a photo from his wedding showed him standing close to his wedding guests, not maintaining the 1.5 meters apart rule that he as Justice Minister is responsible for enforcing. The CDA Minister previously lashed out at Netherlands residents who violate the rules in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, calling them "anti-social", among other things.
Enforcement officers were baffled by this violation of the coronavirus rules, saying that they every day have to face citizens who are increasingly frustrated by the rules they have to follow, and then the Justice Minister just breaks them.
Grapperhaus eventually apologized for not maintaining social distancing and paid 780 euros - twice the amount of the fine for not complying with coronavirus rules - to the Red Cross. The Minister wasn't actually fined. About the new photos, he told Shownieuws that he has nothing to add to his earlier statement.
During a press conference on the state of the coronavirus crisis on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte called frustration with the coronavirus rules understandable, though he did not specifically address Grapperhaus' violation of these rules.
"The 1.5 meters is always necessary everywhere," Rutte said about social distancing. "Sometimes difficult to maintain. Sometimes you'll bump into someone on the street. I really get it. And again, we're not all perfect. And it is not the case that the police immediately impose fines, it does not work that way. Relatively few fines are imposed."
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, is meeting on Wednesday. One of the topics on the agenda is whether Grapperhaus still has enough credibility to continue as Minister. Rutte previously said that Grapperhaus hasn't lost credibility as far as he is concerned.
Opposition parties feel differently about that. According to PVV leader Geert Wilders, Grapperhaus is losing credibility by the minute. "For me it's not even about the rules, we have to get rid of that 1.5 meter society. But someone like Grapperhaus who calls others assholes, has children's parties disrupted by the police and hands out sky-high fines, is becoming less credible by the minute," the PVV leader said on Twitter.
"Making a mistake and standing too close to someone else can happen to us all," GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said to AD. "But shaking hands, you just don't do it, especially as Minister of Justice. It was the first agreement we made in March."
SP leader Lilian Marijnissen said: "In the photos it seems even clearer than we already knew that the 1.5 meters was not complied with. That is not a moment of accidentally standing too close together as was the statement. Not others who were not following the rules. He was shaking hands himself."