LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded to a question Wednesday about the controversy surrounding her recent trip to Florida to visit her sick father.
The reason Whitmer’s trip has raised so many questions is because it came weeks before she told Michiganders not to travel to Florida. Whitmer previously said she didn’t want to address the story due to concerns about her safety.
But last week, reports that Whitmer used a private plane funded by Detroit businessmen to take the trip sparked a new wave of outrage, and she was asked about the trip again during Wednesday’s (May 12) COVID-19 briefing.
Here is the full wording of the question:
“Today, the Michigan GOP is holding a press conference to talk once again about your trip to Florida. Now, I know you’ve said that you don’t want to talk about that anymore out of concern for your own safety, but could you just expand on why you’re not able to talk about a trip that was taken about a month and a half ago, and can you talk about claims that you used a private plane funded by Detroit businessmen to take that trip?”
Here is the governor’s full response:
“I appreciate the question, and I’m going to make a couple of important points,” Whitmer said. “No. 1, when I ran for governor, I talked about all the different hats that I wear, that so many people wear, just like me -- mostly women, frankly. The hat of taking care of my mom at the end of her life. Rearing my daughter at the beginning of hers. Also serving as a state representative and having to fight to make sure that my mom had what she needed at the end of her life.
“This is a part of my story. So for anyone to be surprised that I had a family member who has been having a lot of health issues -- that I showed up to check in. I don’t think -- they’re obviously not paying attention to who I am and what I do.
“It’s been a centerpiece of the work that I’ve done as governor: to take care of and protect the people of Michigan. Now, I took a brief trip from a Friday to a Monday -- two full days I was there. It was not a vacation and it was not a gift.
“This was a quick trip that I took, and I think that it’s important for people to know: Like a lot of children of parents who have health issues or relative who have health issues, I showed up when I was needed. I did a lot of cooking, a lot of cleaning. I also did my day job, meaning I was on regular calls and conferences with my team. I didn’t miss any of that work, as well. When you’re the governor of Michigan, you’re always on the clock, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her.
“This flight was not a gift. This flight was not paid for at taxpayer expense, and it was -- I don’t know that there’s anything more to add. When a family member of mine needs a little help, though, I’m going to show up. Just like when we have a crisis here, we’re going to work 24/7 to keep the people of this state safe.”