Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “doesn’t have a clue” when it comes to the coronavirus and the economy, President Trump told a rally crowd in the Great Lake State on Thursday -- just hours after the Democrat blasted the president during a news briefing.
“Michigan has already gained and regained more than half of the jobs that it lost -- and if your state was ever allowed to safely reopen by your governor, who doesn’t have a clue, just like Joe [Biden], you would have gained far more than that,” Trump said in Freeland, Saginaw County, according to FOX 2 in Detroit.
“Open up your state, Madam Governor, open up your state!”
Michigan would be better off if it “had a governor who knew what the hell she was doing,” Trump added.
Trump described Whitmer as a "liberal hypocrite who lives by a different set of rules.”
The president was referring to an incident in which the governor's husband, dentist Marc Mallory, asked a northern Michigan dock company to have his boat ready by Memorial Day despite state residents being advised to stay home. When an employee said the company couldn’t accommodate him, he asked if it helped that he was the governor’s husband. Whitmer dismissed the incident as a failed joke.
Trump's remarks about Whitmer may have been prompted in part by her comments earlier Thursday.
At a news briefing, Whitmer called Trump the “biggest threat to the American people,” referring to audio recordings released Wednesday of the president talking with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward about the coronavirus.
In the recording, Trump tells Woodward how deadly the virus is but says he “wanted to always play it down” while speaking about it publicly.
Said Whitmer: "I think the biggest enemy of the state right now is the misinformation that's coming out of the Head of the State. I think the biggest threat to the American people is the American president right now," according to Detroit's FOX 2.
"My personal opinion was this administration has been reckless and not particularly well-informed,” Whitmer continued. “I've never believed they read all the briefings they're supposed to read. But it's a whole other thing to be reckless or ignorant and to be deceptive and to have American lives lost because of it. They knew and they didn't tell us.”
She added the U.S. has seen an unnecessary loss of life because of what she described as a lack of “accurate, consistent medical information” coming from the president about the virus.
Trump said Wednesday he downplayed the virus threat because he didn't want Americans to panic.
The president appeared in Michigan one day after Democratic nominee Joe Biden held a campaign event in the battleground state. On Tuesday, Whitmer told CNN she welcomed Biden's planned appearance but viewed Trump's rally plans as "distressing" because she feared Trump supporters wouldn't wear masks at the event.