Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) continued to struggle to answer questions about her recent secret trip to Florida on a private jet, during a Wednesday press conference.
Whitmer’s office previously attempted to downplay the governor’s unannounced trip as “two days,” but Wednesday she acknowledged it was a Friday through the next Monday, or four days.
“A brief trip,” she claimed during a press conference. “It was not a vacation and it was not a gift,” Whitmer asserted regarding questions about who paid for the trip, estimated to be valued at $40,000, aboard a plane owned by several Detroit businessmen. Deadline Detroit noted the cost of the trip amounts to over 25 percent of the governor’s annual pretaxed salary.
Whitmer said she has a “family member who has been having a lot of health issues” and she “showed up to check in.”
“I showed up when I was needed. I did a lot of cooking, a lot of cleaning,” she added, before claiming she also did her “day job.”
“When you’re the governor of Michigan, you’re always on the clock, but it does not mean that you’re not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her,” she said.
According to the Michigan Constitution, the lieutenant governor acts as governor when the sitting governor is “absent from the state.”
Addressing the secrecy around how she got to Florida, Whitmer said, “This flight was not a gift. This flight was not paid for at taxpayer expense.”
When the story initially broke in April, her office said Whitmer “traveled at her own expense.” She did not repeat that claim Wednesday.
Whitmer has not addressed who actually footed the bill, whether she was the lone passenger on the private jet, or where she stayed during the four-day jaunt.
Property tax records indicate her father — the governor’s excuse for the excursion — has a property in Palm Beach County, but he was spotted in Lansing just days after Whitmer’s office admitted to the secret trip.
“Richard Whitmer made his rounds at a Lansing shopping area and was seen getting into a Tesla and driving away,” Great Lakes News reported in late April.
After her defiant answer, Whitmer promptly called an end to the press conference and left.