Michigan Democrats to censure lawmaker who thanked Trump, claim they "own" her

You may recall the recent story about Detroit Democratic state representative Karen Whitsett. She’s the one who claimed that she experienced something of a “Lazarus effect” after taking hydroxychloroquine when she contracted COVID-19 last month. During a subsequent meeting of survivors of the novel coronavirus with both the Vice President and the President, she publicly thanked Donald Trump for promoting the drug and potentially saving her life.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes. Tomorrow, Detroit members of the state Democratic Party will vote to censure Whitsett and prevent any future endorsements of her in upcoming elections. This is apparently how you are treated in Michigan if you commit the sin of saying “thank you” to the Bad Orange Man. (Detroit News)

Detroit Democrats plan to vote Saturday to censure and bar any future endorsements of a Democratic lawmaker who credited President Donald Trump with advocating for the drug that she said cured her of COVID-19.

State Rep. Karen Whitsett, D-Detroit, broke protocol by meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence during an April 14 meeting of COVID-19 survivors, during which she credited hydroxychloroquine for saving her life.

“Thank you for everything that you have done,” Whitsett told Trump at the meeting. “I did not know that saying thank you had a political line. … I’m telling my story and my truth, and this how I feel and these are my words.”

The public meeting with Trump wasn’t Whitsett’s only “violation” of Democratic Party rules of the road. She previously criticized Governor Gretchen Whitmer (rather gently), saying that the Governor had been giving federal officials incorrect information on the COVID-19 situation in Detroit and saying that she wasn’t doing enough to respond to the pandemic.

In addition to not receiving any endorsements, Whitsett will also be barred from participating in any public events with the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization. In other words, she’s essentially being blacklisted from her own party and being treated like an outcast.

And what rationale did party leaders offer for this punishment? Here’s where the story truly turns bizarre. Jonathan Kinloch, the chairman of the 13th CDDPO, is quoted as saying, “At the end of the day, we have political systems. We have political parties, and political parties exist for a reason. [Endorsed candidates and officials] do not belong to themselves. They belong to the members and precinct delegates of the Democratic Party.”

Excuse me, but did you actually just say that the elected Democratic officials belong to the delegates of the party? I think there’s a word for a system where some people belong to other people, isn’t there? Oh, that’s right. Slavery. And not to put too fine of a point on this, but Representative Whitsett is black, just in case you hadn’t noticed.

I’m not sure what’s going on inside the Michigan Democratic Party, but this is just totally off the hook. This woman managed to survive COVID-19 and thanked the person who suggested using the drug that she credits with saving her life. She dared to fact check a governor from her own party and spoke out about the best way to respond to the pandemic in her district. For all of this, she is now persona non grata. You rarely see me rooting for too many Democrats, but I hope the voters of the 13th District take note of how their elected official is being treated and respond appropriately in the coming election.