Michigan Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer travelled to Florida to visit her sick father, despite her own COVID regulations in the state which recommend against travel, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Whitmer 's communications director Tiffany Brown said Monday that the Governor visited her father more than a month ago, but within the past six months. Brown insisted the travel did not occur during spring break and said Whitmer went "to assist her elderly father who is battling a chronic illness."
Lansing newsletter Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) reported that Whitmer's father has a home in Florida. The Governor’s office would not confirm in which state the visit occurred citing "ongoing security concerns."
Whitmer's office also acknowledged that the Governor left the state two other times in the past six months. Once, to visit Michigan's National Guard troops sent to the US Capitol after the Jan. 6 riot and again to attend the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Brown stated that Whitmer's father "was fully vaccinated and the governor is tested regularly and has never tested positive for COVID," and added that the travel was not paid for by the state.
Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory on April 5 cautioning residents that travel could increase the risk of spread of the coronavirus.
Other members of Whitmer's administration have also traveled out of state. Tricia Foster, Whitmer’s chief executive officer, traveled to Florida with her daughter during spring break, after the Governor told residents they should avoid travel to that state for spring break.
Elizabeth Hertel, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that issues Michigan's coronavirus restrictions, traveled with her family to the Gulf Coast of Alabama, even though her department was cautioned against such travel and cases in Michigan were surging.
In response to the revelations Whitmer said "I'm not going to get distracted by partisan hit jobs on my team. There have never been travel restrictions in Michigan. There just haven't been. What directors do on their personal time is their business, so long as they are safe, which is what we're asking everyone in this state do to: Get vaccinated, mask up."