ELK RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s husband urged a business to get his boat in the water in time for Memorial Day weekend, according to social media posts, while she was publicly telling cooped-up residents to resist flocking to popular vacation areas during the coronavirus pandemic.
Personal Facebook posts from NorthShore Dock owner Tad Dowker are no longer available. But The Detroit News reported that Dowker’s staff last week took a call from Whitmer’s husband, Marc Mallory.
“This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted, according to the News. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen.
“Well our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?’” Dowker posted.
Whitmer, a Democrat, and Mallory own a property in the Elk Rapids area in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
NorthShore Dock subsequently said on Facebook that Mallory was respectful and understood why the company couldn’t immediately get his boat in the water, the News reported.
“Our practice is not to discuss the governor’s or her family’s personal calendar/schedules. And we’re not going to make it a practice of addressing every rumor that is spread online,” Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said.
The governor has lifted restrictions on Michigan residents traveling to second homes or taking a road trip. But she doesn’t encourage it, saying the coronavirus is highly contagious.
“A small spike could put the hospital system in dire straits pretty quickly,” Whitmer said. “That’s precisely why we’re asking everyone to continue doing their part.”
Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett said Whitmer’s husband wasn’t following her message.
“In the Army, we have a tradition that the leaders get in line for chow last behind everyone else in the unit,” said Barrett, an Iraq War veteran. “Her family is trying to cut people in line.”