by Scott McClallen
Three years after COVID struck Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer now admits that many of her early lockdown rules, in retrospect, “don’t make a lot of sense.”
“We had to make some decisions, that in retrospect, don’t make a lot of sense,” Whitmer said in a CNN interview clip posted by the Twitter account @Breaking911.
MICHIGAN GOV. WHITMER ON COVID LOCKDOWNS: "We had to make some decisions that in retrospect don't make a lot of sense, right? […] We didn't want people, you know, all congregating around the gardening supplies. […] It was February in Michigan, no one was planting anyway…" pic.twitter.com/WyOOAXsegZ
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 13, 2023
When COVID struck, Whitmer shuttered much of the state’s economy. Her rules deemed which careers were “essential” and ordered “nonessential” workers to stay home.
Whitmer banned stores larger than 50,000 square feet from selling paint and home-improvement supplies, as well as advertising for “nonessential” goods. Even operating a motorboat could bring criminal charges, as could traveling to a secondary home. Her lockdown was the longest and most strict in the Midwest.
Whitmer explained in the interview, “We didn’t want people, you know, all congregating around the gardening supplies… It was February in Michigan, no one was planting anyway…”
She continued, “Some of those policies, I look back and think: that was maybe a little more than we needed to do.”
These were just a few of the nearly 200 emergency orders Whitmer issued in less than a year, mostly related to COVID, that left businesses scrambling to comply.
In one instance, a Walmart labeled baby carriers as a banned purchase, wrongly understanding Whitmer’s executive order 2020-42.
Former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer said Whitmer was “gaslighting” Michiganders.
“The gaslighting here is simply breathtaking,” Meijer tweeted. “The orders (multiple) were in late March/early April (NOT February) and were so unclear that some stores put caution tape around entire aisles to not risk noncompliance. A bit of humility would be nice.”
Whitmer’s policies led to gyms being raided, and strip clubs operating while small businesses such as catering, bowling alleys, and more were forced to close or operate under heavy restrictions.
Over 2,500 Detroiters were ticketed for violating Whitmer’s emergency rules by the Detroit Police Department from April 14 through May 18. The fines were later tossed.
Gary Marshall, owner of FitStop24 in Niles and Dowagiac, reopened three months before Whitmer allowed gyms to open. He was charged with 30 misdemeanors and fined $18,000 before all charges were later dropped.
The Michigan Supreme Court stripped Whitmer of her emergency powers in Oct. 2020.
In May 2021, Whitmer was caught breaking her own COVID rules. A May 15 order demanded gatherings at food service establishments to have no more than six people at a table.
She attended a meal at an East Lansing bar with 13 people, for which she apologized.
Later in the interview, Whitmer told CNN reporter Chris Wallace she has no intention of seeking the Democrat nomination for president in 2024.
– – –
Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org.
Photo “Gov Gretchen Whitmer” by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.