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Gov. Whitmer visited elderly father in Florida during coronavirus pandemic

Republicans call travel by Whitmer and two top aides hypocritical
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 11:14 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office says she traveled out of state more than a month ago to visit her elderly father, a snowbird who lives in Florida and has a chronic disease.

The disclosure Monday came weeks after the governor warned the public about spring break trips amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Two of her top aides vacationed in southern states despite a state recommendation to avoid travel.

Spokesman Bobby Leddy says Whitmer “did not go on spring break” and went to “assist her elderly father, who is battling a chronic illness.”

The Michigan Republican Party accused Whitmer of hypocrisy. Republican State Rep. Thomas Albert of Lowell, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said there appears to be two sets of rules for the state -- one for Whitmer’s administration and the other for everyone else.

“The governor’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’ nonsense must stop,” Albert said in a statement Monday evening. “I understand the desire to visit an ill relative, and I hope for good health for the governor’s family – but I have heard countless stories of heartbroken Michiganders who wanted to visit sick family members during this pandemic and haven’t been able to do so.”

He also pointed out that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a recommendation for families to avoid spring break travel unless they were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before state health director Elizabeth Hertel and Whitmer Chief Operating Officer Tricia Foster both vacationed in the South.

“How can anyone be expected to follow such guidance when the governor and her staff doesn’t follow it themselves?” Albert said. “It’s crystal clear now. If you want to enjoy your full rights and freedoms during the COVID pandemic, the key is to join the Whitmer administration.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.