Whitmer Condemned Lockdown Protests But Now She's Making an Exception for Herself
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has enacted some of the strictest lockdown measures in the country and condemned those protesting those measures, but has has now apparently violated her own executive order.
The Democratic governor joined hundreds of others in Highland Park, Detroit, where social distancing was all but ignored Thursday during a civil rights march related to the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody on May 25.
Whitmer had signed an order Monday that mandated participants in public gatherings stay six feet apart at all times, an order that she almost immediately turned around and violated.
Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown tried doing damage control, insisting Whitmer did nothing wrong.
“The governor took precautions for engaging in an outdoor activity, including wearing a mask even though it is not required outdoors under the order,” Brown told The Detroit News.
However, photos from Whitmer’s own Twitter account show her crowded shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of other protesters.
Today, we marched.
I will never be able to fully understand the pain that Black and Brown communities are forced to bear, but I will spend my life fighting for the justice and peace that everyone deserves. pic.twitter.com/Nz9NpcHHnt
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) June 4, 2020
Brown noted that the governor’s latest order states, “Nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution. That includes the right to peaceful protest.”
However, an FAQ page on the Michigan state government website states more specifically, “Persons may engage in expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan but must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the person’s household.”
Judge for yourself whether this looks like six feet:
“We know that we are at a tipping point in this march toward justice. But this day can’t just be a day. It must be a step forward in this march toward justice.” – @GovWhitmer pic.twitter.com/jv0qE6d7S8
— Chris Meagher (@chrismeagher) June 4, 2020
In March, Whitmer received national attention when she established and enforced draconian level lockdown orders. She compared those protesting her lockdown demands to Americans who declined to work in factories during the production effort of World War II, according to National Review.
Citizens across Michigan held protests in support of opening back up businesses and the economy.
Last month, Whitmer went called those attending the protests “racist and misogynistic,” while on “The View.”
“This is not appropriate in a global pandemic,” she said. “But it’s certainly not an exercise of democratic principles where we have free speech. This is calls to violence. This is racist and misogynistic.”
Michigan Gov. @gretchenwhitmer calls some protests in her state “racist and misogynistic” and urges others “to stop encouraging this behavior because it only makes it that much more precarious for us to try to reengage our economy.” https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/K9QED6Pfbi
— The View (@TheView) May 13, 2020
She also said these protests would just spread the coronavirus faster and make the lockdowns “likelier” longer.
My did her tune change when it came to the George Floyd protests — and plenty of people noticed.
Social distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19—unless you have a great photo op. And control. pic.twitter.com/uFyM6gBWaM
— Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (@LynnAfendoulis) June 4, 2020
So lockdown protests are hotbeds for COVID-19, but social justice protests are completely immune, apparently.
Of course, it’s nothing new to see career politicians playing by different rules than what they set for others. Whitmer’s breaking of her own executive order is just another page in a very old story.
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