Whitmer: Travel to Florida for me, bupkis for thee?

Just days after Gretchen Whitmer warned Michiganders about traveling to Florida and spreading COVID-19, it turns out that the governor has a different set of standards for herself and her staff. This makes three top officials in the Whitmer administration that have traveled out of state while lecturing their residents about the dangers of flying elsewhere. Whitmer’s now spinning this as a necessary visit to an elderly parent, but not everyone who wants to get on a plane in Michigan intends to party either:

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office is responding to backlash over her personal travels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the center of it all is a recent trip to Florida, first reported yesterday by MIRS.

Michigan Republicans are calling it a spring break trip and accusing the governor of not following her own rules, while the governor’s office said it was a trip to visit her sick father, not a spring break trip. …

On Meet the Press this past Sunday, Whitmer said, “this is is the time of the year that snowbirds come home from Florida, where people are doing on Spring Break and all of these things can contribute to spread and that’s why we’re imploring people to take this seriously.”

Whitmer’s office has gone into full defense mode, claiming that this trip was different than the spring-break travel against which Whitmer warned. Her father is elderly, has a chronic illness, and is vaccinated, Whitmer’s office claims, although Whitmer herself still is not vaccinated. That alone raises all sorts of questions about Whitmer’s judgment, at least by Whitmer’s professed standards, but these responses are largely non-sequiturs anyway. The issue isn’t exposure to her father, but exposure to all of the people around her during her travel. That’s where most of the risk would be, in the high-density surroundings of airports, planes, and other public accommodations used during travel.

The hypocrisy is even greater considering Whitmer’s destination. For some reason Whitmer used Florida as her cautionary example, even though Florida’s transmission rates are significantly lower than Michigan’s at the moment. Ron DeSantis would have more reason to tell Floridians not to travel to Michigan.

Besides, none of these excuses explain away the travel taken by two of her top officials earlier:

The disclosure confirmed reporting by the Lansing-based publication MIRS. It came weeks after the governor warned the public about spring break trips, particularly to Florida, amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Two of her top aides, including Michigan’s health director, vacationed in southern states despite a state recommendation to avoid travel. …

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Thomas Albert, a Lowell Republican, said he understands the desire to visit an ill relative.

“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 said. “I don’t understand how the governor thinks it’s OK for her and members of her administration to travel out of state, while issuing recommendations to the rest of us that we stay home.”

Exactly correct. And let us once again note that Whitmer didn’t even follow her state’s recommendations for exceptions to travel warnings:

Whitmer, who got her first vaccine shot April 6, was not vaccinated when she visited her father but is regularly tested for COVID-19.  …

The state says it is safest to avoid out-of-state travel. But if it is unavoidable, residents should get fully vaccinated and, if they cannot, be tested three to five days after returning and self-quarantine for seven days even if the test is negative.

In Michigan, there are two sets of rules, apparently — one for Whitmer and her pals, and another for everyone else in Michigan. All of the spin coming out of Whitmer’s office now doesn’t answer for Whitmer’s hypocrisy.