Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Democrat who recently blamed travelers for new COVID-19 variants in her state, visited Florida more than a month ago, Fox News confirmed.
Fox 2 Detroit reported that Michigan Information and Research Service broke the story on Monday.
Tiffany Brown, a spokesperson for Whitmer, said the trip was not at taxpayers’ expense and the governor was not away for long, according to the report.
Whitmer visited her father who is fighting a chronic illness, Brown said. She pointed out that the governor is tested regularly for the virus and her father is vaccinated.
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“The governor did not go on spring break, and she has not left the state in over a month,” Brown said in a statement. “In the past six months she has left the state three times, once for the inauguration, once to assist her elderly father who is battling chronic illness, and once to visit Michigan’s National Guard troops.”
Republicans in the state wasted little time to seize on the report.
Ted Goodman, the communications director of the state’s Republican Party, told Fox 2 Detroit that Whitmer’s “blatant display of hypocrisy is an insult to every single Michigander impacted by her lockdown orders and travel warnings.”
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“Not only did Whitmer and her top staffers vacation to Florida, but they tried to keep it secret because for Whitmer, it’s—rules for thee, but not for me.”
Whitmer’s newly appointed health director traveled to Alabama earlier in April, shortly after the governor discouraged residents from traveling as Michigan led the nation in new coronavirus cases.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel was in Gulf Shores, Alabama, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service. Gulf Shores is a popular resort destination along the Gulf of Mexico.
A DHHS spokesperson told Fox News last week that the agency does not “discuss the director’s personal schedule.” Whitmer’s office did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News on why the trip to Florida was not disclosed publically.
Whitmer told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that cases in her state could be beginning to slow down. She didn’t discuss specific data and Michigan doesn’t release coronavirus-related data on Sundays. Health officials said Friday that the seven-day average positivity rate had dropped in recent days to 17.1%, but remained above a December peak of 14.4%.