Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) administration refused to answer questions from legislators Thursday about her coronavirus nursing home policy.
During a House Oversight Committee meeting, chairman Rep. Steve Johnson (R) acknowledged a representative from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) declined to participate:
“Most of your guys got a letter last night from the director (MDHHS’s Elizabeth Hertel) in response” to the announced hearing, he said.
“We asked them to testify, we asked them last week. We really wanted them to testify, because there are questions that need to be answered. They refused to testify. They sent us this letter instead,” Johnson told the committee.
The committee chairman indicated the letter claimed MDHHS has “the greatest data out there,” but did not share any of it.
“I’m just a simple guy, but in my mind if you have the best data out there, wouldn’t you share it with people?” he said.
Johnson said the data reported by the Whitmer administration indicated Michigan has the 14th highest coronavirus-related death rate in the country per 100 residents.
The U.S. Department of Justice attempted to get data from Whitmer’s administration in August, and the governor issued a joint statement with now-embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The pair argued there were partisan motivations for probing the large coronavirus-related percentage of nursing home deaths.
“This is nothing more than a transparent politicization of the Department of Justice in the middle of the Republican National Convention,” Whitmer and Cuomo, who is embroiled in his own nursing home death scandal, said, according to the Daily Gazette.
“It’s no coincidence the moment the Trump administration is caught weakening the CDC’s COVID-19 testing guidelines to artificially lower the number of positive cases, they launched this nakedly partisan deflection,” the duo said.
“At least 14 states — including Kentucky, Utah and Arizona — have issued similar nursing home guidance, all based on federal guidelines, yet the four states listed in the DOJ’s request have a Democratic governor,” Whitmer and Cuomo claimed.