Her spokesman confirmed Monday that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer flew to Florida more than four weeks ago. The formal announcement raises glaring questions over why Whitmer has been criticizing Florida’s handling of the pandemic and urging Michiganders to not leave the state she has kept in one of the tightest lockdowns in the nation.
“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,” said Bobby Leddy, Whitmer’s press secretary. “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.”
Breitbart News reported last week that a top Whitmer aide traveled to Florida for spring break and posted several pictures. Tricia L. Foster, appointed by Whitmer as the Michigan chief operations officer, documented her trip comprehensively on Facebook.
The new information further contradicts Whitmer’s continued efforts to lock down her state. Whitmer’s press secretary called the Breitbart report “a partisan attack from a garbage white nationalist website” in an email to Newsweek. Leddy did not clarify to Newsweek whether Foster was vaccinated prior to her trip.
In May 2020, Whitmer was criticized for telling Michigan residents and property owners to stay home on Memorial Day Weekend after the public learned her husband had pressured a locked-down dock owner to get their boat in the water that same weekend at a vacation spot 150 miles away from their home.
Due to alleged “ongoing security concerns,” Leddy declined to comment Monday on the specific dates and arrangements of Whitmer’s visit to her father in West Palm Beach, Florida. Lisa Hanlin, a Polish restaurant owner in Milford, Michigan, who has been struggling due to the shifting restrictions in Michigan, told The Federalist people are “tired of the lies and manipulation” from the Whitmer administration.
On April 3, the governor instructed Michigan residents to avoid travel to Florida. “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says a factor in Michigan’s surging COVID-19 cases is fewer people were infected earlier in the pandemic than in other states. She also is concerned about spring break travel, particularly to Florida,” the Associated Press reported from Pontiac, Michigan.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Whitmer said people should avoid spring break in Florida. “Michigan and Florida are not next to each other,” Whitmer said. “But this is the time of the year that snowbirds come home from Florida, where people are going on spring break, and all of these things can contribute to spread.”
“We’re imploring people to take this seriously, mask up, get tested,” Whitmer said to anchor Chuck Todd. “If you’ve been around someone who’s positive, stay home.”
Whitmer’s Democrat administration has been all over the country while imploring people to stay home and instituting new restrictions on state residents. Elizabeth Hertel, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, was reportedly in Alabama in April just days after the administration announced people should avoid travel.
In mid-October, Whitmer’s coronavirus orders were ruled unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court, 6 to 1. Michigan ranks third in the nation for COVID-19 test positivity rates, at 14.8 percent. The office of the governor did not respond to a request for comment by The Federalist.
This week, Michigan doubled down on its mask mandate, which applies to two-year-old children. Other imposed restrictions are having a “COVID-19 safety coordinator” at businesses, and mandating people wear masks even if they have been vaccinated. The state Department of Health and Human Services claimed the rule is “a good faith effort.”