Whitmer talks Midwest effort on economy; disappointment at Lansing protesters

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a partnership with other governors in the Midwest. They will collaborate on how and when to begin reopening the economy.

She spoke about that effort, the latest numbers, and the protests against her stay-home order.

FOX 2: There is an underlying message about civil liberties being violated by Wednesday's demonstrators.

Whitmer: "I respect people's right to speak. Freedom of speech is an important component of a real democracy. I will also say this, so long as people are observing what we know to be the most important thing, which is social distancing, you know, that was something that I thought well, let's everyone do what they need to do right now in this moment. People are stressed. they are worried about their businesses, they are fearful, they're lonely and isolated. They are mourning the loss of their job or maybe the loss of a loved one. I get the frustration. And if it makes people feel better to direct it at someone and they want to point it at me that's okay. 

"But the fact of the matter is, this demonstration was a political rally. The Confederate flag was waving outside the state capitol, we saw people with swastikas and open carry. It was a political demonstration. I think that the fact that people were not wearing masks and were using their bare hands to give kids candy, you know, that they were congregating in close quarters. And they let the cars back up so much that they were blocking the entrance to a hospital, a major hospital where an ambulance couldn't get in. It was dangerous and they endangered other people's lives. 

"Then they went home to communities all across the state. this is precisely how covid-19 spreads. and so it was incredibly disappointing to see this, you know, irresponsible activity plays out and to know that these people were headed back to all different parts of Michigan. It may prolong a stay home order, which is precisely what they were supposedly protesting."

FOX 2: Finally, governor I know you were planning on reopening the state with help of surrounding states as well. you want to work with other governors in the surrounding areas. Talk about that plan? 

Whitmer: "I'm really pleased. We've had a great working relationship with our neighbors, Mike DeWine, Republican from Ohio, J.B. Pritzker, Democrat from Illinois, my friends from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and now Gov. Eric Holcomb from Indiana, we have gotten to know each other well and we decided it is really important that we are sharing our best information and our thought processes and slowly look to reengage parts of our economy - and we can do it together.

"Sharing our best information and that we do it together. covid-19 doesn't respect state lines. It doesn't respect party line. Every one of us is vulnerable. So the more we can all do our part and to do it in a thoughtful way together, the quicker we'll come out of this and the stronger we'll be when we do."