LANSING, Mich. — While the Michigan Republican Party continues its attacks, Governor Gretchen Whitmer calls the criticism of her out-of-state trip “maddening.”
At a press conference in Lansing Tuesday, state GOP leaders and legislators slammed Governor Whitmer for traveling out of state at the same time she was urging people to stay home to help limit a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“If you want to have trust in this government, you need to be a leader, and this governor has failed to be a leader that we can trust,” Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) said.
The governor’s office telling FOX 17 her trip took place at some point over a month ago, adding that it was not a vacation, it was to assist her ailing elderly father.
Spokesperson Bobby Leddy saying in a statement, "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."
GOP brass are calling her decision to travel “hypocritical,” based on the administration’s recommendations against traveling and policies that kept visitors out of nursing homes for almost a year.
“The problem and the issue is not about the governor seeing her father, it is about hypocrisy. It is about what is good for thee is not good for me,” Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) said.
Aside from the one statement and saying no taxpayer money paid for the trip, the governor’s office has remained tight-lipped as to specifics, leaving out an exact date and location of her travel.
Republicans say she should have been forthcoming about her plans to leave the state.
“She wanted to keep this hidden, and this lack of transparency follows a pattern from this governor and her administration,” MIGOP communications director Ted Goodman said.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Whitmer didn’t shine any additional light on her out of state travel, but called the criticism “maddening."
“It's maddening because a lot of these same people would accuse me of not having family values if I didn't show up when a family member needed some help,” Whitmer said.
“It was a two-day trip,” Whitmer added. "I wasn't out partying in Miami. It's a very different situation than what they're portraying, and I think unfortunately in this environment, it seems like people are more focused on scoring political points than actually doing the work to keep people safe and to get our economy back on track."
Two members of Whitmer's administration, including state health director Elizabeth Hertel, also faced criticism for going out of state on vacation, during the recent spike in COVID cases.