Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing criticism after attending President Biden’s inauguration this week despite telling residents of her own state to stay home and avoid large crowds.
Ms. Whitmer, who served as co-chair of Mr. Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee, defended her attendance at the Wednesday ceremony as “incredibly important” in fostering the relationship between Michigan and the incoming administration.
“Anyone who watched would have seen that we were spaced out, we were outside, and we were masked up,” Ms. Whitmersaid after the event. “So that is how we can live and enjoy some important aspects of life and stay safe. I have been following the same directives I’ve asked everyone else to. I can’t stand those people that have one rule for others and a different one for themselves.”
We’re ready. #InaugurationDaypic.twitter.com/n4r9MH8p0j
— Gretchen Whitmer (@gretchenwhitmer) January 20, 2021
In November, Ms. Whitmer put the state under a partial lockdown that included a ban on indoor dining. Current guidelines say Michiganders must also “avoid travel if at all possible” and that outdoor gatherings have to be limited to “25 people from three households.”
Republicans slammed Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat who has imposed some of the strictest coronavirus restrictions in the country, for apparently flouting her own rules and compared it to her participation in the George Floyd protests over the summer as the pandemic raged on.
“Governor Whitmer has sadly been more focused on public relations and partisan politics instead of collaborating and making smart decisions to better help the people of Michigan,” Michigan state Sen. Aric Nesbitt told the Washington Free Beacon.
“Gov. Whitmer can travel to D.C. and attend Joe Biden’s inauguration celebration but Michiganders can’t step into their local diner or Coney for a meal,” GOP consultant Tori Sachs tweeted.
State Rep. Jack O’Malley told WWMT: “This is our leader telling us to stay home, distance, small groups, and she’s going to Washington, and there’s gonna be more than 10 people there from two families.”
Ms. Whitmer‘s spokesman said prior to the inauguration that the governor would “adhere to all COVID-19 safety precautions as it relates to travel and while she’s there,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
She reportedly added that the trip would not be paid for with tax dollars.
Ms. Whitmer announced Friday morning that indoor restaurants and bars would be permitted to reopen on Feb. 1 at 25% capacity up to 100 people.
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