On Thursday night, Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she was considering an extension of her extreme and inconsistent social distancing guidelines because of the thousands of Michigan residents who protested her a day earlier, most all of whom stayed inside their vehicles.
According to the Democrat, the citizens were not actually protesting her extreme lockdown order, but holding a “political rally,” she told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Their “irresponsible” behavior, she said, is why the May 1 lockdown might be pushed to a later date.
“When you see a, you know, a political rally — that’s what it was yesterday — a political rally like that, where people aren’t wearing masks, and they’re in close quarters, and they’re touching one another, you know that that’s precisely what makes this kind of a disease drag out and expose more people,” Whitmer said, reported The Washington Examiner.
“People came and converged together in Lansing, and then they went back out to their homes out in Michigan. The odds are very high that they are spreading COVID-19 along with it,” Whitmer continued. “It’s that kind of irresponsible action that puts us in this situation that makes us think we might have to actually think about extending stay-at-home orders, which is supposedly what they were protesting.”
Whitmer has come under fire for implementing inconsistent and seemingly unnecessary purchase and activity bans, like, for example, requiring larger retail stores to shut down their gardening and paint sections. On Wednesday, thousands of protesters, most honking their horns and staying in their vehicles, gathered at the state Capitol for “operation gridlock.”
“The operation, organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition (MCC), directed protesters to stay in their cars and circle the capitol, honking their horns,” The Daily Wire noted. “Live shots on Fox News showed thousands of cars stacked up around the statehouse. Some protesters sported signs that said, ‘tyranny worse than the virus’ and ‘honk if you love liberty.’”
On the same day as the protest, four sheriffs announced their decision to not strictly enforce all of Whitmer’s lockdown orders.
“We write today to inform the public for our respective counties of our opposition to some of Governor Whitmer’s executive orders,” a joint press release from the sheriffs reads, as reported by Michigan Live.
“While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority,” the sheriffs continued. “She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.”
Instead, the sheriffs “will deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense.”
“Each of us took an oath to uphold and defend the Michigan Constitution, as well as the US Constitution, and to ensure that your God given rights are not violated,” the statement added. “We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.”
As noted by the Examiner, the governor said Friday she’s looking to reopen the economy on May 1.
WATCH: Gov. Whitmer tells @Maddow that Wednesday's protest at Michigan's Capitol is the “kind of irresponsible action that puts us in this situation where we might have to actually think about extending stay-at-home orders, which is supposedly what they protesting." pic.twitter.com/WxVtTVEeia
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 17, 2020