GOP Senator Catches COVID, So Media Points Out He Was Critical of Dem Governor


Michigan state Sen. Tom Barrett is considered a rising star in the Republican Party, according to The Detroit News.

The 39-year-old is a member of the Michigan Army National Guard and, as part of his screening process for his service, tested positive for COVID-19.

“Thankfully I do not have any significant symptoms at this time, and I will be self-isolating according to medical guidelines,” said Barrett, who tested positive July 31 and was notified on Sunday.

“I have done my best to make contact with those I have been around in the past couple weeks so that they may also seek medical advice.

“I look forward to resuming my normal work schedule as quickly as possible.”

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Barrett was the third Michigan state legislator to test positive for COVID-19, after Democratic state Reps. Tyrone Carter and Karen Whitsett. He has a wife and three children.

Anyway, these are the basic details of the situation. I’ve left out one little detail that almost certainly had nothing to do with Barrett coming down with COVID-19.

Guess what made it into The Detroit News’ headline?

“Republican Michigan senator critical of Gretchen Whitmer tests positive for COVID-19.”

Do you think it's time for all COVID-related lockdowns to end?

Yes, Barrett — guardsman, husband, father, legislator — is also known for his opposition to the high priestess of the lockdowns, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The first paragraph of The Detroit News story mentioned that Barrett had been a “vocal critic of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19.” The next paragraph pointed out that he “sponsored a bill in April to repeal one of the two state laws that allow the governor to declare emergencies.”

The other evidence that he was some sort of hardcore anti-Whitmerite was this: “Barrett, a 39-year-old, first-term Republican senator, has supported the Unlock Michigan petition drive to limit the emergency powers of Whitmer and future governors. He held a petition signing event for the campaign on July 18.”

So his opposition to Whitmer’s policies had exactly zero connection to him contracting COVID-19, nearest I could tell. This wasn’t some guy who decided to flout Whitmer’s regulations by hosting a 200-person party at his lake house and ended up catching the coronavirus through his stupidity.

He opposed Whitmer on several fronts — and failed. Whitmer has mostly had her way with coronavirus policy in Michigan.

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It’d be just as easy to attribute his diagnosis to her. And then you have the fact that the first two COVID-19 cases in the Michigan state legislature were Democrats. The Detroit News could have just as easily written a story saying, “Rep. Tyrone Carter, supporter of Gretchen Whitmer tests positive for COVID-19.”

Now, would that headline I just proposed make any sense? Not a bit. You may begin to see the point — the only link between Barrett’s COVID-19 diagnosis and Whitmer is the assumption that Whitmer’s lockdowns could have theoretically prevented his case of COVID-19.

Twitter was typically life-affirming in this situation:

He probably would, actually. No one knows how Barrett got COVID-19. What we know is that he got it under Whitmer’s rules. Why is no one blaming her?

Because, apparently, we’re all supposed to accept Whitmer is the goddess of the state of Michigan. She was controlling the coronavirus pandemic perfectly, having thoughtfully implemented one of the most extensive lockdowns in the country and banned Michigan residents from buying garden supplies in big-box stores — but then the serpent of freedom convinced Barrett to eat from the tree of lockdown freedom.

And, just like Adam and Eve, the original sin of challenging the eternal wisdom of Gov. Whitmer came upon him: COVID-19. He deserved it. Shame he doesn’t have any symptoms yet.

Oh, and by the by, Barrett was apparently following all of the rules.

“He is unsure of the date he contracted the virus; however, Sen. Barrett has indicated that he was practicing social distancing, had a mask on when not inside his office and sanitized regularly,” read a notice from the Senate Business Office.

But gosh — how could he have gotten the disease if he was following those rules? And how did those two Democrats who presumably supported Whitmer get it, too? It’s almost as if this is an entirely apolitical issue.

State Sen. Barrett got the coronavirus. So will a lot of people before this is over.

The party of the person who got it matters not — and it certainly doesn’t discriminate based on affiliation. The manner in which The Detroit News covered this story was beyond uncalled for.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture