LANSING, Mich — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer traveled out of state earlier this year to visit her father who is battling a chronic illness, spokesman Bobby Leddy said Monday.
The acknowledgment came after spring break trips made by two members of Whitmer's administration drew criticism amid surging COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the state. Whitmer's trip took place more than four weeks ago, before Michigan began leading the nation in new cases per population, Leddy said.
Michigan Information & Research Service News first reported Whitmer's trip Monday and noted it was of a personal nature in Florida. Whitmer's father has a property in West Palm Beach, according to public records.
"The governor did not go on spring break, and she has not left the state in over a month," Leddy said. "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."
Leddy declined to provide additional details, including the dates of the trip or the destination, citing "ongoing security concerns." The revelation came after two top Whitmer aides traveled to Florida and Alabama to vacation with their families.
But Ted Goodman, spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, blasted the Democratic governor for leaving the state while her administration discouraged others from traveling 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," Goodman said.
Whitmer's father has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Leddy confirmed in a Monday email. Whitmer received her first dose of Pfizer COVID vaccine on April 6 at Ford Field in Detroit. A second dose is usually scheduled 21 days afterward. Full vaccination is believed to be achieved two weeks after the second shot.
On a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Whitmer talked about the risks of traveling from Michigan to Florida and back.