LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said her husband made a terrible joke when he asked a company if his relationship with the leader of the state would help spur a company to put his boat in the water.
Over Memorial Day Weekend, Governor Whitmer came under a great deal of criticism after her husband reportedly urged a business to get his boat in the water in time for the long weekend. When told that there was no chance it would happen, he asked if it would help if the business knew he was married to the governor.
The Detroit News reported that NorthShore Dock staff last week took a call from Mallory last week to request his boat get put into the water.
Gov. Whitmer confirmed that her husband, Dr. Marc Mallory, made that request, but that it was a joke. According to Gov. Whitmer, her husband was joking but she's not laughing.
"My husband made a failed attempt at humor last week when checking in with the small business that helps with our boat and dock, Up North. Knowing it wouldn't make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up in the queue. Obviously, with the motorized boating prohibition in our early days of COVID-19, he thought it might get a laugh. It didn't. And to be honest, I wasn't laughing either when it was relayed to me because I knew how it would be perceived. He regrets it. I wish it wouldn't have happened and that's really all we have to say about it."
When the first Stay Home, Stay Safe order went into effect, motorized boating was banned in Michigan. It was later lifted in mid-April.
Gov. Whitmer, a Democrat, and Mallory own a property in the Elk Rapids area in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
The governor said she and her family have been subjected to death threats over the past few months and said she didn't want to dispel every inaccurate statement or post that's been made.
With that said, she said she felt compelled to address Mallory's phone call and request.
She said like most Michiganders, she's been staying at home over the past few months, which has meant missing her daughter's senior prom and graduation.
"My family, like most, has been staying home these past couple of months," she said. "My family has had men with automatic rifles standing in view outside of the front window of our home. We have read the vile things people have said and written in response to my stay home, stay safe order. My daughters have seen the likeness of their mother hung from a noose, in effigy."
Gov. Whitmer said her family has weathered demonstrations that sitting Republicans have either egged or participated in. She said her neighbors, who were at their vacation home in Antrim County, were "terrorized" as well.
"COVID-19 has been a tough chapter for us all. I'm not likening my experience to that of someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one, or their business or their job. But that's why precisely we have to get this right. None of us, not one of us, ever wants to go through this again in a second wave," Whitmer said.
The governor said she would not be bullied into ignoring the science and advice of doctors for political gain and urged everyone to have patience and empathy.
"We need to rise to this occasion and not devolve into our worst selves. that means everyone should take a deep breath. Let's all take a moment to show some empathy, let's try to show a little kindness, and let's all try to have a little patience. that goes for my family and for yours."
"We are all Michiganders and we are all in this together."
Gov. Whitmer has also been criticized for social media reports that she traveled to a second residence up north. She did confirm Tuesday that her husband went to their second residence in Antrim County to rake leaves and came home.
The ban on traveling to a second home was lifted weeks ago. On April 24, she signed an executive order that loosened restrictions on traveling between multiple in-state residences.
“He was there. We did not all pile in the car to go enjoy our second home, although that would have been permitted if we had. But the fact of the matter is he was there briefly for a night I think, one or two nights, and came right home after raking the leaves.”