Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is a gift that keeps on giving – to Republicans.
The public learned that Whitmer, in violation of her own COVID-19 orders, eluded lockdown and visited her aging father in Florida – at a time when she also was warning her constituents to be wary of Michigan snowbirds returning from the Sunshine State.
Now, according to DeadlineDetroit.com, “Whitmer asked a group of wealthy Detroit businessmen to provide a private plane they share.”
In addition, “Those businessmen have major dealings in and with the state of Michigan,” columnist Charlie LeDuff reported.
“We wondered why she reached out to us instead of booking a private charter,” one of the plane’s owners told LeDuff, offering to share the story in exchange for anonymity.
“You can’t tell a governor no,” the plane’s owner added, “Who needs that kind of trouble?”
Who indeed – especially when you’ve got business before Whitmer’s administration.
LeDuff reported that Whitmer flew from Lansing to West Palm Beach through a private charter company. The trip, had it not been for her benefactors, would have cost between $10,000 to $40,000.
Whitmer flew on a Gulfstream G-280 twin jet.
“It is unclear whether Whitmer reimbursed the company – Air Eagle – which manages the aircraft owned by the businessmen. And, if so, at what price and from which bank account?” LeDuff added.
LeDuff also noted that Whitmer was in Florida for four days and not two, and she had not been vaccinated.
Yet two weeks after her return, she went on national television to complain about those snowbirds and spring-breakers bring back COVID variants into Michigan.
In a statement, Jason Roe, executive director of the Michigan Republican Party, said, “Governor Whitmer lied about her trip to Florida and is compounding her lies by refusing to disclose the cost of the private plane she used, if she paid for her personal trip, and what the fair market value of that payment was.”
Roe added, “She ran a campaign based on transparency (her so-called Sunshine Plan) but has been the most opaque governor in Michigan history. I guess by ‘sunshine’ she meant the Sunshine State.”
Whitmer’s travels also caught the attention of Florida officials.
In late April, Florida’s Republican Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis sent Whitmer a letter in an envelope packed with brochures from tourist sites in Florida.
“Don’t hide your trip to Florida; just let your constituents know it’s ok to visit,” Patronis wrote.
“Don’t be a stranger!” he added, “See you again soon.”
This scandal continues to hammer Whitmer, because she was not alone in violating her own rules.
As The Free Press has previously reported, Tricia Foster, Michigan’s chief operations officer, visited Florida during spring break, while Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel, a Whitmer appointee, visited Gulf Shores, Alabama, around the same time.