Michigan governor reacts to protests: I may have to extend order!

By WND Staff

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow interviews Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (screenshot)

Reacting to a massive protest at the state capitol, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer threatened Thursday to extend her stringent stay-at-home order.

Whitmer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow the protest was “irresponsible” and that “we might have to actually think about extending stay-at-home orders, which is supposedly what they were protesting.”

“When you see … a political rally — that’s what it was yesterday — a political rally like that, where people aren’t wearing masks, and they’re in close quarters, and they’re touching one another, you know that that’s precisely what makes this kind of a disease drag out and expose more people,” Whitmer said Thursday.

However, only about 150 “Operation Gridlock” protesters gathered on the lawn of the state capitol Wednesday while thousands remained in their cars, creating a miles-long backup.

In fact, Lt. Darren Green of the Michigan State Police told the East Lansing Journal the protesters were “doing a pretty good job of maintaining social distance.”

“They’re being respectful and not causing any issues at all,” he said.

Whitmer’s orders include barring people from traveling from house and house, even to vacation homes; shutting down certain sections of big-box stores; and banning some types of boats but not others.

“People are basically being told what they can and can’t buy at stores,” Matt Seely of the Michigan Conservative Coalition told Grand Rapids, Michigan’s WOOD-TV. “Nothing makes sense. You can buy a bottle of liquor, but you can’t buy a gallon of paint.”

See Gov. Whitmer’s remarks on MSNBC:

After the protest Wednesday, several Michigan sheriffs announced they will not enforce some of the governor’s shelter-in-place orders, arguing they are bound by the Constitution.

Sheriffs Mike Borkovich, Ted Schendel, Ken Falk and Kim Cole promised to continue abiding by social distancing guidelines but contend Whitmer “has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.”

Michigan residents protest Gov. Gretchen Wilmer’s stringent stay-at-home order (Twitter user @joellesrebinski)

“While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority,” said the sheriff of Michigan’s 101st state House district, comprise of Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason Counties.

The sheriff said in their letter they consequently will not have “strict enforcement” of the orders.

“We will deal with every case as in individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation,” they said.

“Each of us took an oath to uphold and defend the Michigan Constitution, as well as the U.S. Constitution, and to ensure that your God-given rights are not violated. We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.”

The sheriffs said the focus “needs to be on reopening our counties and getting people back to work.”

“We also need to be aware that this virus is deadly and that we need to continue to practice social distancing, washing of hands, wearing of masks as well as other medically recommended measures,” they said.

‘Liberty once lost is lost forever’

On Wednesday, thousands of protesters showed up in cars while an estimated 100 to 150 people gathered on the lawn of the capitol with signs such as “Liberty once lost is lost forever,” “Security without liberty is called prison” and “Recall Whitmer.”

Michiganders protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stringent stay-at-home orders April 15, 2020 (via Twitter)

Justin Heyboer of Alto, Michigan, told the East Lansing Journal his fourth-generation family business has been crippled by the lockdown.

“This is our busiest time of year,” he told the Journal.

“I’d rather die from the coronavirus than see a generational company be gone.”

The governor’s communications director, Zack Pohl, tweeted the statements of health care professionals supportive of the governor’s restrictions.

“There is no question the governor’s order and response by Michiganders has slowed the spread of COVID-19,” said Henry Ford Allegiance Health CEO Paula Autry said in one of those statements.

However, Meshawn Maddock, a board member of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, said all of the protesters “still have to go home to the sober reality that they don’t have income coming in.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said.

He argued the curve of COVID-19 infections has been flattened and it’s time to get back to work.

“It feels like the governor is doing this more almost like a publicity stunt,” Maddock said. “It also feels like she’s mocking Michiganders.”

Republicans have criticized Whitmer for making numerous national TV appearances during the pandemic in which she has criticized President Trump.

Laura Cox, the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, has accused Whitmer of auditioning to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate.

Whitmer is the national co-chair of Biden’s campaign.

Whitmer denies the allegation, insisting she’s motivated by scientific data and the counsel of health professionals.

She declared a state of emergency on March 10 and announced a “stay-at-home” order March 23. Last week, she imposed the further restrictions on travel and some retail outlets while extending the order until May 1.

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