Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) used a Friday meeting with Detroit business leaders to focus on “civility” in state politics despite a 7.5 percent unemployment rate.
Whitmer, who has employed a strategy of shuttering businesses and schools during the pandemic and putting thousands out of work, told the Detroit Regional Chamber, “I think that it’s really important in this moment that the chamber and the members of the chamber lean in and hold people who espouse rhetoric that is dangerous accountable, and play a real role here,” the Detroit News reported.
During Whitmer’s “address for the business community,” the governor was critical of state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R), who had told a Republican group that Republicans had “spanked” Whitmer in several political battles.
She encouraged business owners to read a column in a business newspaper that advocated for Shirkey’s ouster.
In December, the federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics listed Michigan’s unemployment rate at 7.5 percent, more than double that of other states, including South Dakota and Nebraska, which had unemployment rates of three percent. Michigan suffered the worst loss of jobs that month of any state: 64,400.
Throughout her two-year tenure as governor, Whitmer has been known to take digs at her political opponents.
In October, Whitmer appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press with an “8645” badge in the background, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Critics claimed the numbers referred to the killing of President Donald Trump, as “86” is slang for “getting rid of” someone, according to Urban Dictionary. “45” referred to Trump as the 45th president.
Whitmer’s staff brushed off the criticism, though the sign disappeared in subsequent media appearances.
In January, Whitmer posted a photo of herself wearing an anti-DeVos shirt upon the news Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had resigned:
— Gretchen Whitmer (@gretchenwhitmer) January 8, 2021
In the photo, which was accompanied by a waving hand, Whitmer was wearing a shirt that read, “Dear [America], Sorry about Betsy DeVos. Sincerely, [Michigan].”
DeVos is a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party.
That same week, Whitmer posted a photo of a saintly looking Stacey Abrams after the failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate had assisted Democrat candidates with winning two U.S. Senate seats:
Good morning! pic.twitter.com/wfE14Ikyzd
— Gretchen Whitmer (@gretchenwhitmer) January 6, 2021
“Good morning!” Whitmer wrote with the photo of a robed Abrams holding a book with a halo around her head.
After posting the photos, Whitmer issued a joint statement with former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, urging “unity.”
Just days later, Whitmer ally Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) charged Snyder with two misdemeanors for his alleged role in the deaths of Flint residents due to water contamination.
Whitmer also called on Detroit chamber members to advocate for additional federal spending on coronavirus relief.