Illinois Gov. Pritzker: It’s ‘Inappropriate’ to Ask if My Wife Dodged My Stay-at-Home Order

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker responds to a question after announcing that three more people have died in the state from from Covid-19 virus, two Illinois residents and one woman visiting from Florida, during a news conference Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) on Wednesday said it is “inappropriate” to question his wife’s whereabouts in response to reports that his billionaire spouse, M.K. Pritzker, left town, effectively dodging the state’s stringent stay-at-home orders by purportedly fleeing to their $12.1 million equestrian estate in South Florida.

Pritzker recently extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 30 as he continues to promote the “All-in Illinois” initiative, encouraging residents by letting them know that “we’re all in this together.” However, according to a report from the Patch, the state’s first lady is not “all in,” as she reportedly fled to the family’s multimillion-dollar equestrian estate in South Florida as millions of Illinoisans find themselves unable to return to work as a result of her husband’s orders.

Pritzker refused to address his wife’s whereabouts during Wednesday’s press briefing, calling it “inappropriate” and stating that it is “reprehensible” that the Patch reporter originally covered the story.

“Where’s the first lady? Is she accompanied by a state security detail has she engaged a non-essential travel? What is your response to people who say the state home order and non-essential travel bans aren’t being abided by your family?” he was asked.

“I believe there’s a report from Illinois Rising Action that says that she recently traveled to Florida,” the woman added.

“Well first of all, I want to say that in politics it used to be that we kept our families out of it,” Pritzker said, contending that his “official duties” have nothing to do with his family.

“You know my official duties have nothing to do with my family, so I’m just not going to answer that question. It’s inappropriate and I find it reprehensible, honestly, that that that reporter wrote a story about it,” he added:

Despite Pritzker’s assertion that his wife should remain out of the spotlight, she has been involved in public political efforts in recent weeks, teaming up with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) and Chicago first lady Amy Eshleman to raise money for the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund “to provide financial assistance to the city’s creative scene and cultural organizations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the Chicago Sun Times.

“Art has always been of incredible importance to me and to my family,” Pritzker said at the time, praising his wife’s role in the relief effort:

But of course so many of the usual ways of enjoying art together have had to be put on pause, and tragically, our creative communities have felt the financial hardship. [When] M.K., who has always put others front of mind in any hardship, told me that she had an idea to support art and artists in the fight against COVID-19, I was really excited to see what she would come up with. Honestly, she’s blown me away.

Additionally, the first lady reportedly has an office in the Illinois Capitol and the James R. Thompson Center, as well as a taxpayer-funded staffer, who makes an estimated $90,000 per year.

“What’s inappropriate is the Pritzker family’s track record of abiding by the rules only when it suits them,” Kayleen Carlson, executive director of Illinois Rising Action told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement.

“The First Lady has a taxpayer-funded staffer and two taxpayer-funded offices – so her whereabouts are not off limits,” Carlson added.

While Pritzker faces legal challenges over the extension of Illinois’ stay-at-home order, Florida — where his wife is purportedly residing — is slowly reopening.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday announced that the bulk of the state — minus southern counties hit hardest by the coronavirus like Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach — will enter the first stage of reopening on Monday, allowing restaurants to offer outside seating services and retail stores to operate in a limited capacity.

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