Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing accusations of hypocrisy amid reports that she recently traveled to Florida to visit her ailing father, despite blaming travel to the Sunshine State for her own state's raging COVID-19 outbreak.
What are the details?
Michigan Information & Research Service News first reported Monday that Whitmer traveled to Florida, noting that the governor's father owns a home in the state.
Several local outlets, including WWMT-TV, reported that Whitmer's office confirmed the news.
In a statement to WEYI-TV, Whitmer spokesperson Tiffany Brown was careful not to name where the governor went, but explained:
The governor did not go on spring break, and she has not left the state in over a month. In the past six months she has left the state three times, once for the inauguration, once to assist her elderly father who is battling a chronic illness, and once to visit with Michigan's National Guard troops. All trips were very brief, two full days or less, closely followed public health guidelines, and were made when Michigan's daily positivity rate was in the low single digits. Due to ongoing security concerns, we will not comment further on the governor's personal schedule. A little more context, her dad was fully vaccinated and the governor is tested regularly and has never tested positive for COVID. The trip was not paid for at taxpayers' expense.
Whitmer's office also initially confirmed the Florida trip to the Detroit Free Press, but then backtracked. Reporter Paul Egan tweeted after the initial report, "Correction: Gov's office, which sent the statement extensively quoted in this article after being specifically asked, in writing, about a trip by the Gov to Florida, now says it will not confirm that Florida is where she visited her father."
Whitmer has been under fire for her stringent coronavirus restrictions since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, and took further heat earlier this month when it was revealed that one of her top aides traveled to Florida for spring break despite the governor's warnings against doing so.
The Detroit Free Press also noted that "Elizabeth Hertel, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that issues Michigan's coronavirus restrictions, recently traveled with her family to the Gulf Coast of Alabama when her department was cautioning against such travel and while cases in Michigan were surging."
The Daily Wire pointed out that "on Sunday, Whitmer suggested that Florida was part of the reason that coronavirus cases have exploded in her state, saying, 'This is the time in the year that snowbirds come home from Florida, where people are going on spring break, and all of these things can contribute to spread.'"
**Just yesterday** Whitmer tried to blame people traveling to Florida for her state's COVID spike… https://t.co/wZhcjjBgYN— Zach Parkinson (@Zach Parkinson) 1618883275.0
In reaction to the news, Chris Gustafson of the Republican Governor's Association said in a statement that Whitmer's "hypocrisy knows no bounds," Patch reported.
"Gretchen Whitmer's hypocrisy flies in the face of every Michigander who has persevered through Whitmer's disgraceful response to COVID-19," Gustafson said. "While telling Michiganders not to travel, Whitmer flew down to Florida and proved once again that the rules to her or her family don't apply. It's time for Gretchen Whitmer to go."