Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who recently blamed travelers for a spike in coronavirus cases in the state, visited Florida last month.
What she said: During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the governor told the host Chuck Todd that Michigan is recording a high number of coronavirus cases infected with the new, more transmissible variant. She then suggested that people who travel across states, specifically to and from Florida, are partially responsible for spreading the virus.
“This variant, the B117 variant, is what is growing so quickly in Michigan. We have the second-most, I think, after Florida,” Whitmer said last week on the NBC show. “Michigan and Florida are not next to each other. 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 the spread. That’s why we’re imploring people to take this seriously, mask up, get tested.”
The story: Whitmer visited Florida more than a month ago, the Michigan Information and Research Service reported on Monday. The governor’s spokesperson, Tiffany Brown, told Fox 2 Detroit that Whitmer traveled to Florida to visit her father who is suffering from a chronic illness.
“The governor did not go on spring break, and she has not left the state in over a month,” Brown said in a statement. “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 chronic illness, and once to visit Michigan’s National Guard troops.”
Brown highlighted that Whitmer’s father has received a COVID-19 vaccine and that the governor is subject to regular COVID-19 tests.
“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,” the spokesperson added.
Worth noting: Whitmer earlier defended her chief operating officer Tricia Foster who vacationed in Florida in April. The governor pointed out that the state does not ban travel, even though she advised Michiganders to avoid it.
“We’ve never had any travel restrictions in Michigan, and I’ve just encouraged people that if they travel to be safe, mask up, get vaccinated,” the governor said, according to MIRS. “We all need to show one another a little bit of grace. We’re all eager to get out.”
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Author: Penka Arsova
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