LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Whitmer's office is clarifying claims that she "vacationed" in Florida recently. The governor was in Florida briefly to care for her ill father, a spokesperson for the governor confirmed Monday.
The governor's father has a chronic illness, and the spokesperson noted that the visit was brief and that Whitmer has only taken three trips in the past six months that have only lasted two full days or less. Whitmer's office confirms that she is regularly tested for COVID, and has never had a positive test result. The governor's father has also been fully vaccinated.
Outside of Whitmer's visit with her father, her trips over the past six months have included a visit with Michigan's National Guard troops in Washington D.C. and the inauguration in January.
The governor received criticism following a MIRS report about a visit to Florida in the spring to visit her father. The Michigan GOP called her actions hypocritical.
"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."
Whitmer's COVID-19 response can be summed up as, "its rules for thee, but not for me."— Michigan GOP (@MIGOP) April 19, 2021
Read the statement from the governor's office below:
"The governor did not go on spring break, and she has not left the state in over a month. 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 a chronic illness, and once to visit with Michigan's National Guard troops. 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. Due to ongoing security concerns, we will not comment further on the governor's personal schedule.
A little more context, her dad was fully vaccinated and the governor is tested regularly and has never tested positive for COVID. The trip was not paid for at taxpayers’ expense."
Whitmer said in a 7 Action News interview last week that she's "not going to get distracted by a partisan hit jobs on my team," referring to news of the Michigan health director traveling out of state. "
"There have never been travel restrictions in Michigan. There just hasn’t been,” Whitmer added.
Last April, Whitmer extended a stay-at-home order that placed restrictions on travel in the state. The order halted travel between vacation rental homes in the state, but allowed for Michigan residents outside of the state to return home at the time. The order also allowed residents to leave the state "for a home or residence elsewhere."