The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation gave Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) its “Profile in Courage” award for her response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Whitmer’s office announced she would be joining six others in receiving the accolade.
“It is my honor to accept this prestigious award on behalf of every Michigander who stepped up to help their family and community through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer, who recently traveled to Florida before telling others to stay home, said in a news release.
“I am humbled by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Kennedy Family for their recognition,” the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee said.
Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, will present the awards during a virtual ceremony airing May 26.
Kennedy claimed Whitmer put her own life “at risk to keep others safe.”
Via Whitmer’s statement:
While her leadership earned praise from many, she also faced sustained, vocal backlash over stay-at-home rules that remained in place as COVID-19 cases in Michigan continued to rise during the spring. Protests over Whitmer’s pandemic response became increasingly threatening, with armed demonstrators surrounding and at one point storming the state capitol to demand an end to stay-at-home orders. In October, thirteen men were charged with a June 2020 plot to kidnap and kill Whitmer. The men were said to be motivated at least in part by anger and resentment over pandemic restrictions. Despite violent threats against her life, Whitmer did not back down. She stayed focused on following the science and listening to public health experts to get the pandemic under control and start rebuilding Michigan’s economy.
Whitmer’s former health director, Robert Gordon, recently testified that he resigned after the governor briefly appeared on a January video conference call.
“When I arrived, I saw the governor and members of her staff, and she — the governor — said to me ‘Robert, I’m grateful for your service and I think it’s time to go in a new direction,’” he said, as WDIV reported.
He then accepted a $155,000 severance agreement Republicans deemed “hush money” due to a confidentiality clause that prevented Gordon from discussing the details publicly. He did only after the House issued a subpoena for his testimony.
Over the last several weeks, it was discovered Whitmer and two of her top aides traveled to Florida and Alabama for vacations, effectively defying Whitmer’s orders for the rest of Michigan residents to not travel.
She issued a mask mandate for two-year-olds as cases rose in April.
Like other lockdown-happy states, unemployment soared amid Whitmer’s response to the pandemic.
The March unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, higher than open states, such as Florida (4.7 percent) or South Dakota (2.9 percent).