Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a name for herself early in the COVID-19 pandemic by enacting particularly harsh restrictions in her state and making full use of her expansive “emergency powers.” But she now finds herself joining the long list of lockdown-happy politicians caught violating their own orders.
“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer apologized Sunday after a photo circulated of her at a Lansing bar violating Michigan health department orders by closely gathering unmasked with a dozen other people,” Michigan Live reports. “No more than six people can gather together at indoor restaurants, and groups of customers must be six feet apart, according to the latest Michigan Department of Health and Human Services pandemic order.”
Add Gretchen Whitmer to the LONG list of lockdown hypocrites caught violating their own orders.— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) May 24, 2021
(For the SECOND TIME!!)https://t.co/KYNo8D5Bn4
There's a face in that crowd that you might recognize –– yes, it's Michigan's @GovWhitmer.— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) May 24, 2021
Here she is living it up at a Lansing dive bar, violating her own COVID restaurant restrictions.
"Rules for thee, but not for me" is officially her motto. pic.twitter.com/g5LM1QnilX
To her credit, Whitmer quickly acknowledged her hypocritical act and apologized.
“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been committed to following public health protocols,” the governor said in a statement. “Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together. Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it. In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”
Of course, there’s nothing particularly unsafe about what Whitmer’s group did, and they’re all adults who can make their own risk judgments. But in a sense, that’s exactly the problem. The governor is outlawing behavior she obviously knows is perfectly safe.
And, to make matters worse, this is the second time Whitmer has flouted her own public positions. The governor flew on a private jet to Florida in March to visit her sick father at the same time she was counseling Michigan residents to avoid travel. (And lied about it.)
Yet none of this makes Whitmer special. She joins fellow members of the political class such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Gavin Newsome, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and many more who have been exposed for violating their own lockdown rules.
While some conservative politicians have also been caught in acts of hypocrisy, it’s worth noting that most of the politicians on this list are self-described progressives who preach about using the government to ensure equality and justice for all.
So, this uncontrolled outbreak of pandemic hypocrisy is more than just a political scandal. It’s another reminder that under a centralized expansive government, there will always be an elite class that thinks it doesn’t have to play by the rules it imposes on the people.