Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) office dribbled a bit more information out Friday about her secret Florida trip aboard a private jet in March.
Breitbart News caught Whitmer changing her story this week from her original claim that she traveled “at her own expense.” Thursday, she would only say the trip was “not a gift” and was not “paid for at taxpayer expense.”
Friday, Whitmer’s chief of staff, Joanne Huls, told MIRS News the flight cost $27,521 and was paid for by a so-called “dark money” 501c4 nonprofit originally set up to fund Whitmer’s transition activities in 2019. Now called “Executive Office Account,” the fund paid Air Eagle, LLC for the excursion. It is not clear if that was the intent all along, or only after the secret trip became public.
The value was previously estimated to be as much as $40,000.
According to Huls, the governor reimbursed the nonprofit $855 — the value it determined was the price of her seat. Whitmer “paid for her seat on the flight with her own personal money,” Huls told MIRS.
A source told Breitbart News Huls was likely behind arranging the use of the plane because of her previous business connection to one of the plane’s owners, PVS Chemicals.
Huls also said Whitmer traveled with a security detail. It has been reported the governor’s office did not notify law enforcement in Florida that she would be venturing there, as is customary.
Whitmer was asked again Wednesday about the trip, which occurred over four days, not the two originally claimed.
“A brief trip,” she claimed during a press conference. “It was not a vacation and it was not a giftÆ – a reference to a lobbying legal term.
“This flight was not a gift,” Whitmer reiterated moments later. “This flight was not paid for at taxpayer expense.”
Whitmer’s secret Florida trip came just days before she urged Michiganders not to travel to the very same state. After that demand, two of her top aides, Chief Operations Officer Tricia Foster and Department of Health and Human Services Director went to Florida and Alabama respectively for spring break.
The governor’s claim she was tending to her ill father was possibly undermined when he was spotted shopping and driving in Lansing weeks later.
Huls addressed that Friday to MIRS, claiming Richard Whitmer’s health “deteriorated” after the mid-March trip and his physicians asked him to return to Michigan “early.”
“Michiganders are tired of the growing stream of lies coming from Gov. Whitmer,” Republican Governors Association spokesman Chris Gustafson said in a statement.
“Whitmer’s refusal to disclose basic details about her vacation to Florida is simply more proof that she is unfit to lead and it is time to Fire the Damn Governor.”
Whitmer has still not addressed who else was on the plane during the two-hour ride to Palm Beach.