Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) received her “Profiles in COVID Courage” award from the John F. Kennedy Library Wednesday night.
Whitmer praised herself in the pre-produced video, saying she “sought out the smartest people I could find and I think it really showed in the policies that we ended up utilizing to keep people safe.”
“I certainly would never have gotten this acknowledgement but not for work that my whole team did so I share this with all of them,” the governor said.
Whitmer claimed her relationships “helped me save lives here in Michigan.”
In the video featuring her children, an aide, and an out-of-state political consultant, Whitmer recounted her role in the response to the coronavirus pandemic:
One of her appointees, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, praised the governor as “incredible, fearless, and poised” in the video.
“I see her as a role model. She is a mother. She is a leader,” Khaldun said, who has done “a great job leading the state through the (coronavirus) pandemic.”
Political consultant David Axelrod claimed Whitmer made the “politically fraught choices public health experts said were necessary to save the lives of her constituents,” as Whitmer was posing for the camera.
Axelrod said Whitmer would be remembered for “the courage she’s shown in this urgent moment.”
When the library announced the award, Caroline Kennedy claimed Whitmer put her own life “at risk to keep others safe.” A statement said Whitmer “stayed focused on following the science” as she endured an alleged plot to kidnap her.
But the validity of the award may be questioned if Detroit journalist Charlie LeDuff is correct. The former New York Times reporter argued this week Whitmer’s administration underreported coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 100 percent.
Whitmer had a policy similar to that of New York’s that put virus-infected patients in nursing homes to recuperate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been accused of undercounting deaths by 50 percent.
LeDuff detailed his ongoing investigation for Deadline Detroit:
Steve Delie, a lawyer with the Mackinac Center, and I have learned that the state of Michigan did in fact conduct a study with a limited sample last summer to find out if people on this vital records list were residents of long-term care facilities.
Exactly 1,468 vital records were selected from March through June 2020. Of those, 648 deaths were traced back to nursing homes and other long-term facilities. That’s 44 percent. Nearly half.
Apply 44 percent to the nearly 7,000 vital records and there may be another 3,000 deaths of the institutionalized elderly unaccounted for. If that is the case, the number of “nursing home” deaths now climbs to 8,900.
After Cuomo’s scandal was revealed, there were calls for his Emmy award to be stripped, given for his virus press conferences.