Gov. Gretchen Whitmer traveled to Florida to visit her ill father

Governor Gretchen Whitmer's office is responding to a report she traveled out of Michigan to Florida about a month ago to visit her father in a report by Michigan Information and Research Service published Monday.

According to spokesperson Tiffany Brown, Whitmer's father is battling a chronic illness and has a home in Florida. Brown said he is vaccinated against COVID-19 and that the governor is tested regularly and has never tested positive for COVID-19.

Brown said the trip was not at taxpayers' expense and that she was not gone for long.

"The governor did not go on spring break, and she has not left the state in over a month," Brown said in a statement. "In the past six months she has left the state three times, once for the inauguration, once to assist her elderly father who is battling a chronic illness, and once to visit with Michigan's National Guard troops. 

"All trips were very brief, two full days or less, closely followed public health guidelines, and were made when Michigan's daily positivity rate was in the low single digits. Due to ongoing security concerns, we will not comment further on the governor's personal schedule."

Michigan Republicans blasted the governor for the trip during the pandemic.

"Gretchen Whitmer’s blatant display of hypocrisy is an insult to every single Michigander impacted by her lockdown orders and travel warnings," said Ted Goodman, Communications Director of the Michigan Republican Party. "Not only did Whitmer and her top staffers vacation to Florida, but they tried to keep it a secret because for Whitmer, it's—rules for thee, but not for me."

Goodman referenced a pair of Whitmer's top staffers who recently traveled out of state on vacations to Florida and Alabama, including Elizabeth Hertel, the director of Health and Human Services. 

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Whitmer derided the reports on her staffers as partisan attacks.

"I'm not going to get distracted by partisan hit jobs on my team," she said last week. "So, what directors do on their personal time is their business, so long as they are safe, which is what we're asking everyone in the state to do."