LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to be asked questions about a trip to Florida she took more than a month and a half ago, and the answers continue to be vague.
When news of the governor’s trip first broke last month, the optics were bad. Two of her lieutenants had also gone to southern states even while the administration urged Michiganders to avoid travel.
On Wednesday, Michigan Republicans attempted to keep the issue alive with a news conference that offered little in the way of new information. At the same time, the governor was still refusing to say how she paid for her flight on a private plane.
“I took a brief trip from a Friday to a Monday; two full days I was there,” Whitmer said at her own Wednesday morning press conference. “It was not a vacation and it was not a gift. This was a quick trip that I took. And I think it’s important for people to note, like a lot of children with parents wo have health issues or relatives who have health issues, I showed up when I was needed. I did a lot of cooking, a lot cleaning. I also did my day job, meaning I was on regular calls and conferences with my team. I didn’t miss any of that work as well. When you’re the governor of Michigan, you’re always on the clock but it doesn’t mean that you’re not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her. And this flight was not a gift, this flight was not paid for at taxpayer expense.”
The Michigan Republican Party continues to say the trip was hypocritical.
“We have a governor who was telling people not to travel to Florida. We have a governor who blocked people from seeing lived ones in nursing homes and hospitals. And she is now admitting she took a personal trip to Florida while telling the rest of Michigan not to go to Florida,” Michigan GOP spokesman Ted Goodman said. “And we need to know how she paid for it. How did she pay for it? Does anyone here know that?”
The narrative around this issue seems to be a stalemate. The governor will say who didn’t pay for her trip but won’t say who did. The GOP is seizing on the trip as a political issue that has more unanswered questions than verifiable answers.