Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer visited Florida last month, according to local media, in time to warn constituents against enjoying the sun in the Covid rulebreaker’s paradise. Her staff passed it off as a family visit.
Florida repealed its coronavirus dictates late last year, while Michigan’s remain in full force. The mask-loving state leader continues to (publicly) warn those in her own state against travel, but her true loyalties are less border-bound than it seems. It was also revealed that at least two of Whitmer’s senior advisers left Michigan for “spring break,” apparently shrugging off their boss’ travel dictates while insisting no such regulations existed.
Whitmer dismissed one reporter’s question about whether there were “two sets of rules in play,” one for the rich and powerful and one for “average” Michiganders. The governor flatly denied there had ever been “travel restrictions in Michigan,” despite her state having boasted some of the strictest rules in the country. “What directors do on their personal time is their business, so long as they are safe,” she argued.
The state’s Chief Operations Officer Tricia Foster was spotted vacationing in Florida, while Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel spent some time on the beach in Alabama.
“I’m not gonna get distracted by partisan hit jobs on my team,” Whitmer insisted, dismissing reports by both local outlet MIRS News and Breitbart detailing the governor’s perceived hypocrisy as Michigan residents were warned with a heavy hand against leaving their state even as staffers were jet-setting to sunny spots in the south.
“What we have done is ask people to be smart, to get vaccinated, to mask up – that is the key to traveling with confidence that you’re going to be safe and not expose yourself or your loved ones,” Whitmer insisted.
And it wasn’t just the governor’s aides who went south for the spring – Whitmer herself took a “personal trip” to the Sunshine State, apparently to visit her father, who has a home there. Her communications director refused to classify the governor’s trip as a family gathering, keeping it vague with an explanation that the governor was “assisting her elderly father who is battling a chronic illness.” However, the report about her visit came just days after she was forced to defend her aides’ visits to Florida, which has been operating mask-free and without business-killing Covid-19 mandates since September.
Indeed, tourism has been booming in Florida, as the typical spring break season began with the majority of the East Coast in some form of closure. Florida was happy to entertain the stragglers, with Governor Ron DeSantis reminding fun-seeking Americans that “there are no lockdowns in Florida” and leaving local government struggling to impose an 8pm curfew to try and keep celebrants at bay.
Despite dire warnings from nearby governors and the federal government, DeSantis has seen few ill effects from reopening his state, other than floods of residents of other coastal states picking up and moving to his territory. Not only has economic activity boomed, with the state’s famed theme parks throwing open their doors once again, but Covid-19 numbers have dropped back and are staying low – to the everlasting chagrin of Whitmer and other lockdown fans in the north.
“This is the time of year that snowbirds come home from Florida, where people are going on spring break, and all of these things can contribute to spread,” Whitmer warned in an MSNBC interview on Sunday, providing no concrete evidence while complaining that her state had a “compliance problem” in getting residents to follow some of the strictest Covid-19 containment orders in the country.
State Attorney General Dana Nessel blamed essentially everyone but Democratic office-holders, insisting the state’s recent rise in case numbers could be traced to law enforcement and “Republican office holders” for not doing enough to force Michiganders back into their homes.