What They Are Saying: Governor Gretchen Whitmer Has Played Politics While Issuing “Excessive Decrees” In A “Stunning Power Grab”

Whitmer’s “Lockdown Overkill” Imposed “Arbitrary And Vague” Measures On The People Of Michigan

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “Perhaps the most excessive decrees have come from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. In addition to shutting down ‘non-essential’ businesses, as many other governors have done, Gov. Whitmer has barred Michiganders from traveling to each other’s homes. ‘All public and private gatherings of any size are prohibited,’ the Governor explained at a press conference.”

  • “Under Gov. Whitmer’s order a Michigander can buy a bag of candy or a lottery ticket, but not a pack of seeds or a can of paint. He can enjoy a boat ride by himself or with his dog—but not if his boat has a motor. The logic of these seemingly arbitrary distinctions must elude most Americans.”

Washington Examiner Editorial Board: “Gretchen Whitmer Coronavirus Response Has Gone Overboard”

  • “The most effective officials are reluctant to place restrictions on people’s lives and do so only when there’s a legitimate justification. The stewardship of Michigan by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, however, is an example of the worst of both worlds. One of the rumored candidates to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick has managed to impose draconian measures on residents of the state without any conceivable public health benefit.”

Bret Stephens, The New York Times: “The Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has been in office less than two years, and her chief claim to national fame is banning big box stores from selling gardening equipment. I think steps like those are lockdown overkill…”

Ingrid Jacques, The Detroit News: “But many have complained that the order is arbitrary and vague, leaving retail outlets and other businesses in a difficult position of trying to muddle through what is ‘essential’ for customers and what isn’t. Marijuana and alcohol sales can continue, for instance, but garden seeds and paint are off limits.”

John Miller, Director, Dow Journalism Program At Hillsdale College: “Petty and arbitrary edicts destroy more than jobs and revenue. They also damage trust in government—and acts of civil disobedience are erupting around Michigan.”

Whitmer’s Actions To Unilaterally Extend Orders Represent A “Stunning Power Grab”

The Detroit News Editorial Board: “Michigan is now operating under emergency orders that have an extremely shaky legal foundation. The crisis powers granted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak expired at midnight Thursday, and when she failed to reach a deal with lawmakers to extend them, she set aside the legislative branch and unilaterally imposed the extension. That’s a stunning power grab. Whitmer is declaring she can run the state as she pleases, for as long as she pleases, with no oversight or checks on her power. This affront to democracy must be undone by the courts.”

  • “From the beginning of her tenure, Whitmer has shown disdain for both the law and regular-order governing, looking for every loophole to avoid dealing with the Legislature. This time, she’s taken the state to a very dangerous place.”
  • “There’s no reasonable defense, in a representative democracy, for a governor to strip the legislative branch of its constitutional authority and assume dictatorial powers in perpetuity.”

Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business: “In the matter of an hour Wednesday, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer torpedoed Republican legislative leadership over their role in extending a state of emergency… Instead of asserting her constitutional and legal authority to continue managing the worst public health crisis in a century without a check on her power, the governor decided to shatter any trust or goodwill she’s built up with the Legislature in recent months.”

Nolan Finley, The Detroit News: “In a series of legally suspect maneuvers, the governor is attempting to bypass the legislature and give herself absolute power to do whatever she pleases, for as long as she pleases. Whitmer says she told lawmakers she doesn’t want to play politics. What she means is she doesn’t want to be bothered by Constitutional governing.”

Whitmer Has Been Accused Of “Playing Politics” By Awarding State Contracts To Partisan Vendors Tied To Her Campaign

Fox News Headline: “Michigan Gov. Whitmer Slammed By Home State Paper For Allegedly Playing Politics In Middle Of Coronavirus Crisis”

  • The Detroit News Editorial Board: “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer must send an unequivocal message to her constituents that Michigan is her priority in this hour of crisis. Her running feud with President Donald Trump calls into question whether she’s acting in the best interests of this state, or on behalf of the Democratic Party.”

Newsweek Headline: “Under Fire, Michigan Governor Pulls Coronavirus Contract From Democratic Party-Linked Consultancy”

Matt Visser & Josh Dawsey, The Washington Post: “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration on Tuesday abruptly canceled a no-bid contract to help track the spread of the coronavirus in Michigan, a day after announcing the hiring of a state Democratic consultant and a national firm that has worked for prominent Democratic causes… The Michigan contract, worth nearly $200,000 over the next eight weeks, was signed Monday and allowed the hiring of a subcontractor to help with ‘contact tracing,’ a process to track residents with the coronavirus and those with whom they have interacted.”

  • “The episode illustrates the political and ethical pitfalls involved in the large amounts of money suddenly being spent across the country to curb the coronavirus outbreak and boost the economy… Whitmer’s political campaign has also been using NGP VAN, paying the group nearly $5,000 in the last five months of 2019, according to campaign finance reports.”

Chris Cillizza, CNN: “On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer canceled a no-bid state contract dealing with coronavirus testing that she had announced just the previous day after complaints emerged because two of the firms involved were connected to state and national Democratic consultants… And then came this latest story, which, whether an honest mistake/oversight or no, just looks plain bad — like a Democratic partisan feathering the nests of other professional Democrats with state money.”

Editorial Boards Have Accused Whitmer Of Using COVID-19 To Make “Government Less Transparent”

The Detroit News Editorial Board: “During a public health crisis, elected leaders should push for more government transparency, not less. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has missed the mark on this principle. Earlier this month, Whitmer signed an executive order that relaxed Freedom of Information Act requirements, giving public bodies an extra five days to respond to requests in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The order also gives government entities the power to extend timelines for the granting or denial of information requests and to defer portions of requests that would require ‘in-person efforts.’”

  • “The public has a constitutional right to the government’s information. Allowing avoidable delays treads on that right and puts our state in jeopardy. Especially during a crisis. Today, Michigan lags behind other states in providing more comprehensive information about the spread of the virus and the toll it’s taking.”

Traverse City Record Eagle Editorial Board: “The last thing Michiganders need is a less transparent government, especially during the throes of a pandemic. But that’s what we’re getting as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer relaxes the state’s Freedom of Information and Open Meetings acts to accommodate social distancing and remote working requirements instituted to combat the novel coronavirus. Rather than demanding innovation — after all isn’t necessity the mother of invention — Whitmer effectively gave local and state governments license to bend already ridiculously flexible rules.

  • “The latest order allows state and local governments near blanket ability to delay responses to public records requests. Attaching the term ‘COVID-19’ seems to be, at least in the eyes of some, an absolution of governments’ responsibility to answer to the people.”
  • “It is in times like these, times when power consolidates quickly in government circles, that our elected leaders should strive to be more transparent. Yet, somehow, Michigan continues to slide in the wrong direction instead of acting quickly to innovate and reform.”

    “Tens Of Thousands Of Jobless Workers” Have Been Unable To File Unemployment Insurance Claims With Whitmer’s Administration

    Detroit Metro Times Headline: “Some Michiganders Are Still Waiting For Their Unemployment Checks More Than A Month Into The Coronavirus Crisis”

    Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business: “What Bieber didn’t mention is the troubles tens of thousands of jobless workers face each day in trying to reach someone at Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, whose director acknowledged earlier in the day that the agency can only handle 5,000 of the 150,000 phone calls it receives each day.

  • “Here’s a mild question for lawmakers to ask in their forthcoming investigation of the meltdown at the unemployment agency: Why didn’t the governor put a war-like response behind reassigning thousands of state employees to process unemployment claims and answer phones in mid-March? Some construction industry workers who are poised to go back to work next week are still waiting for their claim to be processed — after five weeks of waiting.”

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