UPDATE, May 27, 2020: After the publication of this article, Gov. Whitmer held a news conference in which she addressed the allegations that her husband tried to use her name to get preferential treatment.
“My husband made a failed attempt at humor last week when checking in with a small business that helps with our boat and dock up north,” Whitmer said. “Knowing it wouldn’t make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up in the queue. Obviously with the motorized boating prohibition in our early days of COVID-19, he thought it might get a laugh. It didn’t.”
“To be honest, I wasn’t laughing either when it was relayed to me. Because I knew how it would be perceived. He regrets it. I wish it wouldn’t have happened. And that’s really all we have to say about it.”
This article appears as originally written.
Only days after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she had been talking to the Biden campaign about the possibility of being picked as former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate, allegations are rocking Michigan that her husband tried to use her title to get preferential treatment.
The Democratic governor’s spokeswoman pooh-poohed the allegations, but on Monday, The Detroit News reported that a dock company owner stands by his story that Marc Mallory, Whitmer’s husband, tried to throw his weight around last week prior to Memorial Day.
Debate over the allegations comes against a backdrop of Whitmer’s continued lockdown orders in the state and her insistence last week, citing health concerns, that residents not flood northern Michigan’s recreational areas over the holiday weekend.
While Whitmer and her husband live in Michigan’s capital city, Lansing, they also own property in the Elk Rapids area.
The fur began to fly Thursday when Tad Dowker, who owns NorthShore Dock LLC, vented on Facebook in a post that has since been deleted, according to The Detroit News.
“This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted.
“Being memorial weekend and the fact that we started working 3 weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen.
“Well our office personnel had [explained] this to the man and he replied ‘I am the husband to the Governor, will this make a difference?'” he added.
Dowker had more to say, according to a screenshot of the post saved by another Facebook user.
“As you can imagine, it does make a difference, that would put you to the back of the line!!!” the post concluded.
“Needless to say, our Governor and her husband will not be getting their boat for memorial day. To good not to share. I love it when karma comes around, even in small doses.”
The company posted a message on its page Saturday as a follow-up.
“After a long day of keeping crews running, adhering to the additional safety regulations that need to be in place to operate our small business and fielding calls from customers frustrated with our lagging installation schedule I was told the governor’s husband called asking for install availability,” the company said in the post, which is no longer available for the public to see.
“Up until this point we, as a company, had no idea we installed their dock or boat.”
The post said Mallory was respectful and understood when told no early installation was possible.
Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown would neither confirm nor deny the allegation.
“Our practice is not to discuss the governor’s or her family’s personal calendar/schedules. And we’re not going to make it a practice of addressing every rumor that is spread online,” Brown said in a statement.
“There’s been a lot of wild misinformation spreading online attacking the governor and her family, and the threats of violence against her personally are downright dangerous,” she said.
The story angered many on Twitter:
“HERE’S SOMETHING THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST to the JOE BIDEN vetting squad: … Michigan Gov. GRETCHEN WHITMER’S husband pulling the “don’t-you-know-who-I-am” card with a vacation boat dock worker in the middle of a pandemic that has killed thousands of people in his state.” pic.twitter.com/w1z1kcZdsV
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) May 26, 2020
Whitmer’s husband: “I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?”
Employee: “As you can imagine, it does make a difference, that would put you to the back of the line!”
This is just too good.https://t.co/yUsBFtzUZx
— LawEnforcementToday (@LawEnforceToday) May 24, 2020
Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett noted that Whitmer told everyone else in Michigan not to “descend” on Traverse City, which is located about 25 minutes from the property she and her husband own in the northern part of the state.
“Yet, what did her family try and do?” Barrett told The Detroit News.
“In the Army, we have a tradition that the leaders get in line for chow last behind everyone else in the unit,” he said.
“Here is the leader of our state. … Her family is trying to cut people in line.”
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