New Mexico Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham reportedly received special treatment after she issued lockdown orders and shutdown non-essential businesses last month in response to the coronavirus pandemic when a non-essential business opened up to sell her “expensive jewelry.”
KRQE news anchor Jessica Garate reported late Tuesday evening that Lujan Grisham called an employee at Lilly Barrack to buy expensive jewelry.
“The jewelry was bought over the phone, but the employee went to the store, got the jewelry and placed it outside the door of the store where someone who knew the governor picked it up,” Garate reported. “This is according to the person who runs Lilly Barrack stores. She says she didn’t know about it until after it happened. She also said no one was allowed in the stores at that time due to the public health order.”
Did Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham play by her own rules? We've learned a non-essential business opened back in April, so the governor could get jewelry. The governor's response and what other businesses think tonight on @krqe KRQE at 10pm. pic.twitter.com/KbhpO7ELHT
— Jessica Garate (@krqegarate) May 27, 2020
KRQE reported that Lujan Grisham, who is reportedly being vetted as a potential vice presidential pick for presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, refused to answer questions on camera about the controversy.
A spokesperson for Lujan Grisham told KRQE: “Lujan Grisham did call an employee, saying they had a longstanding personal relationship. The employee came here [Lilly Barrack], got the jewelry and took it home, left it outside their home and then someone came and picked it up.”
The governor’s office would not release the name of the person who picked up the jewelry and delivered it to Lujan Grisham.
KRQE highlighted how Lujan Grisham had “lectured” people in the state to stay home during the lockdown, and video posted by the local news station showed Lujan Grisham telling residents in her state: “I need you to do better.”
Lujan Grisham’s office claims that she did nothing wrong and pointed to an order that stated that the state’s public health orders did not impact businesses that interacted with customers remotely, but the order also clearly stated that it required “the closure of physical retail spaces.”
KRQE noted that similar businesses were upset when they learned what Lujan Grisham did because they did not believe that was permissible under the lockdown orders:
Other businesses like Mark Diamond’s Jewelers did not interpret the orders the way the governor’s office did. A manager at Gertrude Zachary says no one was allowed in their store and they wouldn’t even risk it because of a fear of fines. They thought online sales through shipping was their only option, but they got zero customers and lost hundreds of thousands in sales.
Other governors have also come under fire for similar “special treatment” amid the ongoing social distancing orders, including another potential vice presidential candidate, Michigan Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer, a vocal critic of Trump’s calls for reopening the country, has been under intense fire recently for a series of controversial actions, including her husband calling a boating company, located in an area of the state that Whitmer urged people to not travel to if they did not live there, and requested special treatment because he was married to the governor.
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