Whitmer asked about her aides going out of state despite administration discouraging travel

MDHHS director latest Michigan official to travel out of state

MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP) (Uncredited, Michigan Governors Office)

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked about two of her top aides, including the Michigan health director, going out of state for vacation despite the governor’s administration discouraging anyone from traveling.

In the last week, it’s been revealed that Whitmer’s chief operating officer went to Florida for spring break and Elizabeth Hertel, the new director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, went to Alabama with her family.

Earlier this month, MDHHS, under Hertel’s leadership, recommended that no Michiganders travel unless absolutely necessary.

During a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday (April 14), Whitmer was asked to address the issue.

READ: 13 takeaways from Whitmer’s COVID update: Michigan restrictions, why numbers are so high, vaccines

“How do you justify this to residents who feel there might be two sets of rules in play here?” the reporter asked.

“First and foremost, let me say this: I’m not going to get distracted by partisan hit jobs on my team,” Whitmer said. “There have never been travel restrictions in Michigan. There just haven’t been. What we have done is ask people to be smart, to get vaccinated, to mask up.”

Michigan Republicans were critical of Whitmer’s aides, pointing out the recommendations discouraging travel that were issued from the governor’s own administration.

But Whitmer defended the decisions, saying her aides know how to be smart when they travel.

“That is the key to traveling with confidence that you’re going to be safe and not expose yourself or your loved ones to COVID, or your community to COVID,” Whitmer said. “what directors do on their personal time is their business, so long as they are safe, which is what we’re asking everyone in the state to do. Get vaccinated. Mask up. We all want the freedom to do these things that we’re longing to do. That is the key to doing it with confidence that we’re going to be safe and we’re not going to expose anyone else to COVID.”

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.