Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) repeatedly refused to discuss details Monday about what led to the “abrupt” resignation of a top health adviser.
Whitmer dodged three separate questions posed virtually from reporters about the departure of Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon.
The governor was asked for “specifics,” and whether she asked for Gordon’s resignation, NBC 25 reported.
While appearing to read from notes, Whitmer said, “I want to begin by thanking Robert Gordon and (new) Director (Elizabeth) Hertel did as well. To lead this department in unimaginable circumstances, it has been grueling.”
She continued, “He worked hard to protect our public health,” before attempting to pivot to talk about Hertel.
But another reporter brought it back to the sudden resignation.
“Can you describe the relationship you had with Robert Gordon?” he said.
“I don’t think I have anything to add with regard to my comments about, you know, the former director. I shared with you that I wish him well. I’m grateful for his leadership and we’ve got a wonderful new director at the department,” Whitmer responded.
When a third reporter apologized for asking about Gordon again, Whitmer seemed to scoff beneath her mask.
“Did you ask for Director Gordon’s resignation and was this expected at all?”
“I’ve answered that question, I think the only thing I would say is, you know, it’s been a grueling couple of years and changes in administrations happen,” she said.
“I wish Robert Gordon the very best. I truly do and I am incredibly grateful for the hard work and the way that he showed up every single day over these last two years,” Whitmer continued.
“It has been a long, impossible to imagine experience and I’m grateful that we had his leadership for two years and I’m wishing him every best of luck as he moves forward,” she said.
Gordon, who began issuing coronavirus-related mandates when Whitmer’s executive orders were ruled unconstitutional, quit on Friday via a post on Twitter:
Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration. It's been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter.
— Robert Gordon (@robertmgordon) January 22, 2021
“Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration,” Gordon wrote Friday afternoon.
“It’s been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues,” he continued, without thanking or acknowledging the governor.
“I look forward to the next chapter.”
WDIV said Gordon “abruptly” left.
Whitmer acknowledged Gordon’s departure in the final sentence of a press release announcing his replacement.