Those in the state house in the state of Michigan are getting some backlash after they set out tough travel recommendations but then didn’t follow their own guidelines.
One in the crosshairs is the governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
The 49-year-old Democrat asked the state’s schools to suspend in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities, indoor dining and gathering for at least two weeks as her state was leading the nation in Covid-19 cases.
Just a week later Whitmer made a trip to Florida to visit her sick father. “It was certainly not spring break,” she told the Washington Post.
“I was doing both my job as governor from a distance and being that of a daughter who was helping out a parent who needed a little help.”
Whitmer described the GOP response to her trip as “maddening.” But Republican lawmakers say she isn’t following her own standard.
“We do not take issue with the governor wanting to visit a family member,” Michigan Republican Party spokesman Ted Goodman. “What we take issue with is that she’s doing this at the same time she’s telling Michiganders, ‘You can’t see family members.’ “
She isn’t the only time she has left the state in the last six months. She went to Washington D.C. for President Biden’s inauguration and to visit the state’s National Guard troops.
Elizabeth Hertel, the state’s director of the Department of Health and Human Services, left with her family for a trip to Alabama. They spent time in Gulf Shores, a busy tourist destination.
This came just days after she herself laid out travel guidelines. “Students and families traveling across Michigan to other states or out of the country risk being exposed to and carrying COVID-19 with them,” Hertel said in a April 2 press release.
Hertel said her family wore masks and were separated six feet from other families during the trip. When asked about Hertel Whitmer said, “What directors do on their personal time is their business, so long as they are safe, which is what we are asking everyone in the state to do.”
Tricia Foster, the governor’s chief operating officer, was at Siesta Key in Florida, revealed in a Facebook post that has since been deleted.
Foster had Covid-19 and has since been fully vaccinated. Spokesman for the governor Bobby Leddy said in a statement: “This is a partisan attack from a garbage white nationalist website. Trish Foster is fully recovered from COVID and fully vaccinated.”
Leddy’s response comes after Breitbart News posted a story about her trip.
These recent trips have been alarming for GOP representatives and residents of Michigan, especially Hertel’s voyage to Alabama. The state ranked 48 out of 50 states in terms of daily cases at the time of her trip.
Though Whitmer and her administration asked for suspension of indoor dining, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association called her idea misguided.
“We trust our operators to continue to provide a safe environment indoors or out in the coming weeks and we trust Michiganders to do their part to act responsibly and respectfully to help us all achieve that outcome,” the association said in a statement.
The state’s Department of Education backed her suggestions, but the Michigan High School Athletics Association said all games will go on as scheduled, giving the schools the option to suspend if they want. They also said all their state tournaments will go on as scheduled.