Gov. Whitmer facing travel backlash after going to Florida to visit ill father

Posted at 5:46 AM, Apr 20, 2021

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office is responding to backlash over her personal travels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the center of it all is a recent trip to Florida, first reported yesterday by MIRS.

Michigan Republicans are calling it a spring break trip and accusing the governor of not following her own rules, while the governor's office said it was a trip to visit her sick father, not a spring break trip.

The governor's office said she hasn't left the state in more than a month.

MIRS reported that the governor went to Florida.

In a statement released Monday, the governor's office said she's left the state three times in the last six months: Once for the inauguration, once to visit her father battling a chronic illness, and once to visit Michigan's National Guard troops in Washington.

“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,” the statement reads.

The statement also said her father is fully vaccinated and the trip was not paid for by the taxpayers.

On Meet the Press this past Sunday, Whitmer said, “this is is the time of the year that snowbirds come home from Florida, where people are doing on Spring Break and all of these things can contribute to spread and that’s why we’re imploring people to take this seriously.”

Last week, Republican leaders also criticized MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel for a reported trip to Gulf Shores earlier this month.

As for the governor's reported visit to her father, the Michigan GOP is not wavering, holding a press conference on Tuesday.

“How can anyone be expected to follow such guidance when the governor and her staff doesn't follow it themselves?" Michigan House Appropriations Chair Rep. Thomas Albert asked. "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.",

One of the governor's top aides also reportedly traveled to Florida recently. The governor's administration has been at odds with Republicans over lockdown orders since the pandemic started.

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