Gretchen Whitmer isn’t backing down

Gretchen Whitmer isn’t backing down

The New York Times reports:

She is a first-term governor and rising star in the Democratic Party, a frequent critic of the Trump administration for its handling of the coronavirus health crisis and a prominent foil of the president’s in the heated debate over when to reopen the nation for business.

Now the governor, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, has also become a prime target in the growing partisan storm over stay-at-home orders during the outbreak, which was highlighted on Wednesday by a raucous protest at the state capital, followed by Mr. Trump’s call on Friday to his followers to “Liberate Michigan.’’

The debate over how soon to loosen restrictions on businesses and workers has moved from the hands of health experts to become an increasingly political fight over costs to the economy, which Mr. Trump sees as crucial to his re-election.

Ms. Whitmer, a potential vice-presidential pick, has stirred Republican fears that her growing popularity will help Democrats carry the battleground state of Michigan in November, whether or not she is on the ticket. “I think it’s impossible to look at this and not feel there’s a lot of partisanship going on as it relates to Governor Whitmer,’’ said Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat and Michigan’s senior senator.

The traffic-snarling protest on Wednesday that drew a few thousand people to Lansing, Mich., including many flying Tea Party flags and Trump 2020 flags, was nominally called to oppose Ms. Whitmer’s latest stay-at-home order, one of the strictest in the nation. But the gathering, like similar ones held in the electoral battleground states of Ohio, Minnesota and North Carolina, was also the clearest sign yet of a simmering ideological movement on the right resisting government mandates over the virus.

“It felt a lot more like a political rally than a statement about the stay-home order,’’ Ms. Whitmer said in an interview the next day.

Mr. Trump has been insulting and condescending toward Ms. Whitmer, calling her “Half Whitmer” and “the woman in Michigan.” Asked on Thursday at the White House if the protesters in Michigan should listen to their governor, Mr. Trump replied: “I think they listen to me. They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion.” [Continue reading…]



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