Whitmer calls it ‘concerning’ that top Republican in Michigan is 'an anti-masker’

Governor says Mike Shirkey has ‘disdain, ignorance’ when it comes to science behind spread of COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s governor said the top Republican in the state has a “disdain” and “ignorance” when it comes to the science of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and called it concerning that he is an “anti-masker.”

“Well, I think it is concerning that the top Republican in Michigan government is an anti-masker and doesn’t want to encourage and require everyone across the state to mask up,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said over the weekend that he wouldn’t support any type of mask mandate in the state of Michigan.

His comments came after the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the governor’s emergency orders, ruling that the 1945 law through which she went above the heads of legislators to issue executive orders is unconstitutional.

Days later, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued regulations regarding masks, gatherings and some businesses across the state. A series of counties have also issued their own rules following the announcement.

Whitmer said Tuesday during a news conference that she’s willing to negotiate with Republicans, calling on them to cancel their October recess and return to the Capitol.

She was asked specifically about Shirkey’s mask comments.

“I think that those comments show you a real disdain for science and ignorance of the epidemiology that we are up against,” Whitmer said.

She cited public health experts and scientists who support masks as a means to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“That’s why I’m glad that our director of Health and Human Services has epidemiological or epidemic orders that he is able to sign to keep us safe, and I think that as we move forward, where I have to negotiate with the legislature -- I’ve always been interested in negotiating with the legislature,” Whitmer said. “We can find some common ground, but I’m not going to hold back in doing what we know to be the right thing to protect people in this state."

More coverage

Here’s much more previous coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer’s handling of pandemic:

Reopening Michigan:

Health questions, advice:




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About the Author:

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.