M.K. Pritzker, the billionaire wife of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), is reportedly skipping out on her husband’s stringent lockdown orders, jetting off to their $12.1 million equestrian estate in South Florida — a state that has refused to implement what Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) described as “draconian” measures as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Pritzker finds himself in the middle of a legal battle over his extension of the his lockdown order, extending it until May 30 and promoting his All-in Illinois initiative, his wife is nowhere to be seen, at least in the Prairie State.
According to Patch, first lady M.K. Pritzker is staying at the couple’s $12.1 million estate in Florida, as the governor has largely refrained from mentioning his wife while fielding questions regarding his own well-being:
The governor didn’t mention his wife when reporters asked the billionaire about how he’s doing physically and emotionally under his own stay-at-home order.
“I’ll just say I’m managing through this time reasonably well,” Pritzker said on April 17. “I think there is an emotional component to this that I’ll just not spend a lot of time on.”
While the outlet contends that the governor’s wife has “no obligation to sequester herself in their Astor Street mansion in the Gold Coast when her family can hop on a private plane to stay-at-home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the family estate in the Bahamas (close to the governor’s off-shore bank accounts) and, of course, their place in the ‘winter equestrian capital of the world’ in Florida,” it admits that the optics are less than ideal, particularly as the governor extends the state’s stay-at-home order and begs residents to abide by his stringent orders to “get through this difficult time”:
But there’s no getting around the ironic, political intrigue of Illinois’ first lady quietly spending time out of the public eye at one of the family vacation homes while so many non-billionaires financially and emotionally struggle under her husband’s newly extended coronavirus stay-at-home order, the second-longest in America.
Certainly there must be a reason that Illinois’ first lady’s coronavirus response has differed from the spouses of other prominent elected officials.
According to Patch, the governor’s team has yet to issue a comment on the matter.
Pritzker finds himself in the middle of a legal battle over his extension of the lockdown order. Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney sided with State Rep. Darren Bailey (R), who filed a lawsuit alleging that Pritzker exceeded his authority. While McHaney issued a temporary restraining order pausing the extended lockdown orders, it only exempts Bailey, leading to action from State Rep. John Cabello (R). He plans to issue a similar lawsuit, but in a way that will apply to everyone in Illinois.
“I want to see if what the governor is doing by extending his order is constitutional,” Cabello said.
“I’m not trying to put anybody in harm’s way here,” he continued. “I’m just wanting to see that some of this stuff start’s making common sense.”
Pritzker filed an appeal on Tuesday and vowed to fight McHaney’s ruling.
“Representative Bailey’s decision to go to the courts is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis,” he said in a statement.
It’s a danger to millions of people who might get ill because of his recklessness. Disasters don’t evaporate on a 30-day timeframe. Legislators took this into account when they wrote this law. We will fight this lawsuit to the furthest means possible.
The governor also called the lawsuits “ridiculous.”
Early this month, Pritzker launched a statewide initiative dubbed All in Illinois, urging Illinoisans to make a commitment to stay home.
“Every one of us must abide by this to get through this difficult time, so to honor you and to bring us together in our commitment to doing what’s right I’m introducing a new statewide initiative to participate in and it’s called ‘All in Illinois,'” he announced this month.
“‘All in’ is our anthem and point of pride. Illinoisans staying home for the good of each other and the good of our state,” Pritzker continued.
“Be all in. ‘All in Illinois’ means we care about one another, we care about our communities. We are one Illinois, and we’re all in this together,” he said.
Under the revamped stay-at-home order, garden centers and nurseries can reopen, but “nonessential” retail stores may only open to fulfill orders via curbside pick-up or delivery. Pritzker is also requiring all individuals over the age of two, as of May 1, to wear a mask or face covering when they are out in public.
Meanwhile, his wife reportedly remains in Florida, where stay-at-home orders are expected to expire on Thursday.