(Liberty Bell) – Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D), who has been the subject of a lively protest in her state due to her far-reaching coronavirus lockdown, has extended the measures for a fifth time, this time until June 12.
If she’s trying to demonstrate that she’s not the sort of governor her opponents claim she is, she’s not doing herself any favors at this point.
Whitmer’s move also comes as many states around the nation are slowly reopening and easing coronavirus-related restrictions, making the move look like even more of an overreaction by comparison.
In a statement explaining the extension on the lockdown, the Democrat governor asserted that although deaths related to the novel virus are on the decline, her state is “not out of the woods yet.”
The state, which has a population of 10 million, has recorded 53,865 cases and 5,158 as of Saturday, with a clear decline in new cases since April, according to the New York Times.
“If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home.”
“If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed.While we ﬁnally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again.”
While governors implementing strict lockdown measures had previously enjoyed an ally on the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force in the form of Dr. Anthony Fauci, even he changed his tune this week, stating that extended lockdowns had the potential to cause “irreparable damage.”
“We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for health,” Fauci said. “I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 23, 2020
Michigan’s Republicans were scathing in their response to Whitmer’s lockdown extension, with Laura Cox, chairman of the state’s Republican Party, accusing the governor of playing politics and for what appeared to be calculated timing.
“Not only is Gretchen Whitmer going around the state legislature with her stay-at-home orders, now she is going around the people of Michigan by announcing extensions after-hours on a holiday weekend,” Cox tweeted. “The only thing she is trying to keep safe is her political career.”
Not only is Gretchen Whitmer going around the state legislature with her stay at home orders, now she is going around the people of Michigan by announcing extensions after hours on a holiday weekend.
The only thing she is trying to keep safe is her political career.
— Laura Cox (@MIGOPChair) May 22, 2020
Whitmer, who gave the Democratic party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address in February, has long been rumored to be on the shortlist for the party presumptive presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate.
Earlier this week, the New York Post reported that Whitmer was “in talks” to take on the role.
“I’ve had a conversation with some folks,” Whitmer said during a Tuesday interview on the “Today” show.
“It was just an opening conversation and it’s not something that I would call a professional formalized vetting,” she added.