Gretchen Whitmer Travels to D.C. for Inauguration After Discouraging Residents from Leaving Michigan

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a mobilization event at Belle Isle Casino in Detroit, Michigan, with former US President Barack Obama and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden, on October 31, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is traveling to Washington, DC, to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday despite urging residents not to leave the state.

“I am honored to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and ready to begin working closely with each of them to fight this virus, save lives and put the country back on track,” Whitmer said in a news release.

The Detroit Free Press reported:

Whitmer has generally discouraged Michiganders from traveling and attending gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. Her spokeswoman could not immediately say whether Whitmer was taking any special precautions or whether she was flying commercial or in a state plane.

“Certainly she will adhere to all COVID-19 safety precautions as it relates to travel and while she’s there,” spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said.

The trip will not be paid for with tax dollars, Brown said. She would not say whether campaign funds or some other donor fund, such as a nonprofit, was being used, but said: “Travel disclosure will be done in compliance with state law.”

Whitmer was appointed co-chair of Biden’s inaugural committee. He also recently nominated her to serve as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Last month, Whitmer urged residents not to travel during Christmas to see family.

“If you are planning to travel or gather with other households for the holidays — we urge you to reconsider,” several Midwest governors, including Whitmer, said in a joint statement, according to the Detroit News.

“Just one infection can cause an outbreak in your community, which could overwhelm our hospitals and put you and your loved ones at risk. We owe it to the brave men and women serving on the front lines of this pandemic to do our part and be smart this holiday season.”

“If Gov. Whitmer can fly to D.C. for a celebration, then she should immediately open all of Michigan’s small businesses that remained closed due to her orders,” Michigan Rising Action Executive Director Tori Sachs said.

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