Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis sent Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) tourist pamphlets and encouraged her to come back to visit, as it was learned she and one of her top aides traveled to the state, despite urging others not to.
On Monday, Patronis sent Whitmer a letter, along with a number of tourism guides, including to Walt Disney World, Butterfly World, Florida State Parks, Beach Dreams, and more:
With recent media reports that you and your Chief Operations Officer (COO) separately visited Florida, I wanted to take the liberty of providing you and your whole team with materials from VISIT FLORIDA, our state’s official marketing board, for future visits. Included in this letter I’ve attached a summary of promotional materials to help plan your next visit.
As both you and your COO now know from personal experience, Florida is safe for travel. With over 5 million Floridians vaccinated, unlike a lot of other states, Florida has largely returned to normal. The fact is Florida had a lower mortality rate than the locked-down state of New York. Indeed, our Governor successfully balanced fighting the Coronavirus with keeping our small businesses open.
No doubt, many of your fellow Michiganders traveled to the Sunshine State this year – and we proudly welcomed them! Moreover, much like yourself, many of your constituents likely have loved ones in Florida they haven’t visited in some time. I know members of your team are telling you to downplay the recent trips to Florida. Don’t listen to them. Now that you and your COO have personally experienced what the Sunshine State has to offer, I encourage you to share your experiences publicly. More importantly, however, don’t be a stranger!
Patronis’s mailing came after Whitmer admitted she traveled to Florida in March to visit her father. She defended traveling to the state, despite urging residents to forego vacationing there.
“It is maddening,” Whitmer said of criticisms. “It is a two-day trip. I wasn’t partying in Miami.”
Whitmer’s COO, Tricia Foster, traveled to Siesta Key for spring break, just days after Whitmer urged residents not to, specifically referencing Florida.
Whitmer said she was “concerned” about travel between the states and “urged people returning from Florida to work from home and have their kids learn virtually for at least a week,” Crain’s Detroit Business reported.
It is not known if Foster did either one of those things.
When Whitmer was asked about Foster’s travel, which the COO described on Facebook, the governor replied, “Most people in my administration have not taken a day off in 14 months and we’ve never had any travel restrictions in Michigan,” a statement that was quickly disproven.
Whitmer added, “There’s not much more to say about this kind of partisan hit job on one of my staff people from a white nationalist website.”
That false smear was in reference to Breitbart News’s exclusive reporting.