Governor Gretchen Whitmer is looking to extend the state of emergency in Michigan and thinks some of her constituents aren’t really paying attention to the coronavirus.
The Democrat lawmaker spoke in a virtual interview with Politico Playbook about whether Michigan residents will be ready for a halt to reopening the state if there is a “threat of a second spike” of the pandemic, suggesting many of her constituents may not “really understand” that.
“People are kind of ready to break free, they’ve been in quarantine,” host Anna Palmer said.
“How do you kind of make sure that Michiganders know like, yeah we’re trying this out but we may have to pull back on certain areas if there are spikes or there are issues that kind of arise,” she asked Whitmer. “Do you think the public is ready for that?”
“I think it’s through consistently explaining,” the governor responded.
“I think that I’m paying close attention, and you’re paying close attention. And certainly there are a lot of people who are really invested who are home and watching the news,” Whitmer said.
“But some who aren’t. And I don’t want to make any assumption that people really understand the threat of a second spike and what that would mean,” she added.
Whitmer’s state of emergency in Michigan is set to expire on Thursday and she is looking to extend it even though she noted the diminishing number of new COVID-19 cases.
Gov. Whitmer is discussing the MI Safe Start plan to re-engage the state’s economy. She says the number of new #COVID19 cases is trending down.
“That action is because the vast majority of people did the right thing.”
— Mikenzie Frost (@MikenzieFrost) April 27, 2020
During a coronavirus update news briefing on Monday, Whitmer explained she would be asking the state legislature to approve a 28-day extension but said “it really should be longer.”
While some restrictions have been lifted in the state as the economic reopening plan, dubbed MI Safe Start, begins to unroll, Whitmer’s attempt to continue the state of emergency will likely be getting plenty of pushback from those same constituents she thought are not really paying attention.
A protest is scheduled on the Capitol lawn for Thursday, the second one against the lockdowns after a Lansing event earlier this month when thousands converged on the area in their cars to voice their dissent over orders that banned the visiting of family and friends and even the kind of purchases allowed in “essential” shopping trips.
Last month, President Donald Trump fired back at Gretchen “Half” Whitmer in a tweet after she criticized his administration’s response to the global pandemic. Trump accused the governor of not being grateful and said she “doesn’t have a clue.”
Last week, four Michigan sheriffs questioned Whitmer’s restrictions “as overstepping her executive authority.”
“She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens,” they wrote in a joint letter. “As a result, we will not have strict enforcement of these orders. We will deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation.”
As word spread that Whitmer was seeking to extend the sweeping stay-at-home orders last week, Michigan residents took their protests to her doorstep.
Fed-up Michiganders protest outside Gov. Whitmer’s home, state legislature moves to curtail her power https://t.co/Vtw6BuAxHW
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 24, 2020
Michigan’s Republican Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield announced last week that the Legislature would create an oversight committee to look into the governor’s potential overreach and handling the pandemic.
The House & Senate will convene tomorrow to create a special oversight committee on COVID-19 to examine our government’s response. Michigan needs to handle this pandemic seriously yet properly. It’s what the people deserve, and we will see that it happens. #InThisTogether
— Lee Chatfield (@LeeChatfield) April 23, 2020
Attorney General William Barr issued a memo on Monday ordering federal prosecutors across the country to be on the “lookout” for state and city officials who may be violating the civil liberties and constitutional rights of their citizens by issuing some of their coronavirus measures.
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