Gov. Whitmer traveled outside of Michigan to visit ill father, spokesman says

The governor traveled out-of-state three times, spokesman says

FILE - In this  Jan. 27, 2021, file photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her virtual State of the State address the state in Lansing, Mich. Irked by the sweeping use of executive orders during the COVID-19 crisis, state lawmakers around the U.S. are moving to curb the authority of governors and top health officials to impose emergency restrictions such as mask rules and business shutdowns. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her virtual State of the State address the state in Lansing, Mich. Irked by the sweeping use of executive orders during the COVID-19 crisis, state lawmakers around the U.S. are moving to curb the authority of governors and top health officials to impose emergency restrictions such as mask rules and business shutdowns. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

LANSING, Mich.Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office is responding to a report by Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) that said she recently traveled out-of-state.

Press Secretary Bobby Leddy told Local 4 that Whitmer left the state three times, including once to assist her father who is battling a chronic illness. She also traveled to Washington D.C. for President Joe Biden’s inauguration and once to visit with Michigan National Guard troops.

Republicans seized on the report.

READ: Aide to Gov. Whitmer travels to Florida despite Governor’s travel warning

READ: Gov. Whitmer defends Michigan health director vacationing out of state amid COVID surge

“Gretchen Whitmer’s blatant display of hypocrisy is an insult to every single Michigander impacted by her lockdown orders and travel warnings,” said Ted Goodman, communications director of the Michigan Republican Party. “Not only did Whitmer and her top staffers vacation to Florida, but they tried to keep it a secret because for Whitmer, it’s rules for thee, but not for me.”

Gov. Whitmer traveled out-of-state to visit father
Gov. Whitmer traveled out-of-state to visit father

Two of the governor’s aides were recently found to have traveled to Alabama and Florida for vacations, including state Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel. The Governor’s Office didn’t say where she went to see her father, but MIRS reports that she has a home in Florida. A source within the Governor’s Office told Local 4 that Whitmer’s father is fully vaccinated and the she is tested regularly for COVID-19 and has never tested positive.

“The governor did not go on spring break, and she has not left the state in over a month,” Leddy said. “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.”

Sources said the trip to see her dad was not paid for by taxpayer dollars. Officially, Whitmer’s office said it will not be commenting further on her schedule due to security issues.

Michigan House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert issued a statement:

“There are two sets of rules in Michigan – one for the governor and members of her administration, and one for everybody else. The governor’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’ nonsense must stop.

“I understand the desire to visit an ill relative, and I hope for good health for the governor’s family – but I have heard countless stories of heartbroken Michiganders who wanted to visit sick family members during this pandemic and haven’t been able to do so. I don’t understand how the governor thinks it’s OK for her and members of her administration to travel out-of-state, while issuing recommendations to the rest of us that we stay home. How can anyone be expected to follow such guidance when the governor and her staff doesn’t follow it themselves?

“It’s crystal clear now. If you want to enjoy your full rights and freedoms during the COVID pandemic, the key is to join the Whitmer administration.”


About the Author:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.