A Michigan Democratic lawmaker is siding with Republicans when it is time to vote on loosening the state’s shelter-at-home order.
Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett told right-wing radio personality Glenn Beck she voted on Thursday with Republicans in the Legislature to reopen Michigan, regardless of how other Democrats feel about the issue.
“Am I voting to support us opening up our state, yes, I am voting to support us opening up our state because I do feel that there’s too much power given to the governor right now and it’s not being used properly,” she said on Friday.
Whitsett also accused Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of neglecting the Black community.
“[A]s long as you [Whitmer] are not doing your job, and black lives are being lost in the city of Detroit, I will continue to throw you under the bus, drive it over you, and drag you by your hair behind the bus. Because you need to do your job!” she said of Whitmer.
Whitsett has been locked in a public feud with her party members since she praised President Donald Trump for suggesting the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus. She claimed the drug saved her life while she was battling the virus.
“Thank you for everything that you have done,” Whitsett told Trump during the April 14 meeting. “I did not know that saying thank you had a political line. … I’m telling my story and my truth, and this how I feel and these are my words.”
The first-term state House member also made critical remarks about the governor to the media last week.
“The resources we’re supposed to have he told me quite frankly are supposed to come from the governor and the governor is not painting the same picture to him or the vice president,” she told Fox 2 Detroit on April 25.
“I believe this is the governor. She has decided that she is going to slap me on the wrist by silencing me. It’s a shame that she’s doing this. It’s politics at its best,” Whitsett continued.
The representative’s admiration of the president has led to condemnation from other Democrats. The 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization announced on April 25 that its members “voted unanimously” to censure Whitsett.
“Representative Karen Whitsett has chosen to drive a wedge between herself and the Democratic Party with the use of incendiary words to attack fellow Democratic leadership in Michigan, while publicly supporting the Operation Gridlock protest,” the group said in a statement. “Operation Gridlock” was a demonstration in the state capital of Lansing held by conservatives who were against Whitmer’s COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates. The thousands of protesters, most of them in vehicles, brought traffic to a standstill in the April 15 demonstration.
“She continues to refuse to meet electronically with local precinct delegates and party members. Maybe she would be better served, if she considered the suggestion made by President Trump to join the Republican Party,” the statement continued.
Under censure, Whitsett will not receive party endorsements in 2020 and will not be allowed to participate in party events for two election cycles, per The Detroit News. Whitsett doubled down on her views and claimed she was speaking out on behalf of Detroit’s Black community.
“I guess this is teaching me to be in my place, but it’s not going to stop me,” Whitsett said. “The only person that is being irresponsible is Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and I will continue to point the finger at her as long as black people in the city of Detroit are dying and it’s not just black people.”
Trump openly supported Whitsett after the potential censure was announced and suggested she change parties.
“Disgraceful. Should join the Republican Party!” Trump tweeted. Whitsett told “Fox and Friends” she intends to remain a Democrat and will continued to publicly criticize Whitmer. One of her gripes is the governor’s reluctance to issue a executive order to prevent water shutoffs.
“The only person being irresponsible in this situation is Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and I will continue to point the finger at her as long as black people in the city of Detroit are dying,” Whitsett said on the show.
“I’m not going to be silenced. I have family members [who] have passed away. They have been turned away at the hospital.”