Whitmer Spokeswoman: My Boss Didn’t Violate Social Distancing Guidelines When She Marched. Here Are Some Pictures.
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On Thursday, after Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer marched with demonstrators in response to the death of George Floyd, triggering criticism because she has vociferously championed the idea of social distancing, her spokeswoman, Tiffany Brown, dismissed the charge that her boss had violated her own executive order issued earlier in the week stating people should remain six feet apart when participating in public gatherings. “Whitmer drew criticism after she stood shoulder to shoulder with some march participants, who included Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan,” The Detroit News reported.
The executive order stated, “Persons may engage in expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan, but must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the person’s household.”
Brown said, “The governor took precautions for engaging in an outdoor activity, including wearing a mask even though it is not required outdoors under the order,” insisting that the march had not violated the order because the order reads, “Nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution. That includes the right to peaceful protest.”
The Detroit News added regarding Whitmer’s march on Thursday, “However, a page of frequently asked questions about the order on the governor’s website specifically says, ‘Persons may engage in expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan but must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the person’s household.’”
Michigancapitolconfidential.com reported that Whitmer said at a May 11 press conference about protesters against her coronavirus orders, “Their freedom of speech is something that I respect, but they have a duty to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise others or threaten others or compromise our first responders. And so if you choose to demonstrate, I ask that you wear a mask. I ask that you stay six feet apart from others.”
Whitmer reiterated on The View on May 13 her view that protesters should remain at least six feet apart, saying:
They are congregating, they are not wearing masks. They are not staying six feet apart. And then they go back home into communities and the risk the perpetuating the spread of COVID-19 is real. We’ve seen it happen. And that’s why, I respect people’s right to dissent, they need to do it in a way that is responsible and does not put others at risk … Anyone who is contributing to people not observing best practices and endangering others is undermining all that work … and run the very real risk of a second wave.
.@GovWhitmer @LtGovGilchrist and Bishop Charles Ellis lead a group of marchers in Detroit honoring the life of #GeorgeFloyd. Marchers call out "hands up, don't shoot!" @wxyzdetroit @ABC pic.twitter.com/ExR28L3dIm
— Jenn Schanz (@JennSchanzWXYZ) June 4, 2020
Social distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19—unless you have a great photo op. And control. pic.twitter.com/uFyM6gBWaM
— Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (@LynnAfendoulis) June 4, 2020
— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) June 5, 2020