Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) flouted her own executive order mandating social distancing during a march protesting the death of George Floyd on Thursday, after months of condemning fellow Michiganders who demonstrated against her strict coronavirus lockdown.
What are the details?
Whitmer joined a march in Highland Park and Detroit days after loosening her restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather outside amid nationwide protests, but broke the rules she still kept in place requiring individuals to socially distance from others outside their own household.
The Democrat was filmed during the photo opportunity leaning on her fellow demonstrators and removing her mask to speak to the cameras in violation of the guidelines she insisted on maintaining for her state amid the continued presence of COVID-19.
The Detroit News noted that the crowd “appeared to violate social distancing rules” and reported:
Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown denied the governor had violated her own executive order issued Monday that says people should remain six feet apart if participating in public gatherings.
Contrary to the administration’s own guidance posted online, Brown said the unity march didn’t violate her latest order because it states, ‘Nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution. That includes the right to peaceful protest.’
However, a page of frequently asked questions about the order on the governor’s website specifically says, ‘Persons may engage in expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan but must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the person’s household.’
Gov. Whitmer, Mayor Duggan join unity march through Detroit in honor of George Floyd
During an appearance on ABC’s “The View” last month, Whitmer said of demonstrators protesting against her lockdown:
These protests, they do undermine the effort, and it’s very clearly a political statement that is playing out where people are coming together from across the state. They are congregating, they’re not wearing masks, they are not staying six feet apart and then they go back home into communities and the risk of perpetuating the spread of COVID-19 is real.