Whitmer declares support for Biden vax mandate, flips stance that it would be a 'problem' for MI workforce

Whitmer has been hit hard with scandals and controversies throughout her first term

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Embattled Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared her support for President Biden’s workforce vaccine mandate, flipping her previous stance on the issue.

The Michigan Democrat said during a Wednesday Zoom roundtable with reporters that she believes the COVID-19 omicron variant is the harbinger of "tough" times and praised the president’s vaccine mandate for large companies.

Whitmer said the Michigan state government was preparing to comply with Biden’s mandate, which the governor says is "about saving lives" and "getting more people vaccinated."

MICHIGAN’S WHITMER FACES ACCUSATIONS OF ‘ILLEGAL’ CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS

Gov. Whitmer said earlier this month that the president’s vaccine mandate would be a "problem" for the Great Lake State’s workforce. 

Gov. Whitmer said earlier this month that the president’s vaccine mandate would be a "problem" for the Great Lake State’s workforce.  (AP Photo/Al Goldis, File)

"If we're successful on those fronts, it's going to be to everyone's benefit," Whitmer said.

Whitmer’s stance on Biden’s mandate is a new one, however — the governor said earlier this month that the president’s vaccine mandate would be a "problem" for the Great Lake State’s workforce.

"I know if that mandate happens, we’re going to lose state employees," the governor said. "That’s why I haven’t proposed a [state] mandate. We have a lot of the same concerns ... it’s going to be a problem for all of us."

President Biden talks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. 

President Biden talks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Former Detroit police chief and Michigan gubernatorial candidate James Craig told Fox News in a Thursday statement that he is completely against the president’s business vaccine mandate that Whitmer has now thrown her weight behind.

"I've been vaccinated and encouraged people to listen to medical professionals when making their own decision," Craig said. "My position is clear and consistent — I am 100% against Biden's vaccine mandate, which Whitmer now supports."

James Craig announced his retirement after eight years as Detroit’s police chief and 44 years in law enforcement. 

James Craig announced his retirement after eight years as Detroit’s police chief and 44 years in law enforcement. 

Whitmer has been hit hard with scandals and controversies throughout her first term in office.

In October, the governor amassed nearly $4 million in excess campaign contributions for her 2022 reelection bid, reports showed late Monday.

Normal state contribution limits permit individuals and political action committees (PACs) to donate up to $7,150 per candidate during an election cycle.

But Whitmer has accepted donations from at least 40 individuals who gave more than the traditionally permitted amount – including Timothy Light of Kalamazoo and William Parfet of Hickory Corners, who each contributed more than $50,000 over the last three months, as first reported The Detroit News.

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 31: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a drive-in campaign rally with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama at Belle Isle on October 31, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Biden is campaigning with Obama on Saturday in Michigan, a battleground state that President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 31: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a drive-in campaign rally with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama at Belle Isle on October 31, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Biden is campaigning with Obama on Saturday in Michigan, a battleground state that President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Drew Angerer)

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) slammed Whitmer in a Thursday afternoon email to Fox News Digital, saying Whitmer is "fully embracing Joe Biden’s job-killing vaccine mandate."

"After months of dodging, followed by opposition, Gretchen Whitmer’s latest flip-flop has her fully embracing Joe Biden’s job-killing vaccine mandate," said RGA spokesperson Chris Gustafson. "While Michigan families struggle to keep up with runaway inflation, the last thing they need is more anti-small businesses policies that will only worsen Michigan’s already worst in the region unemployment rate."

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Whitmer's office emailed a statement to Fox News Digital early Thursday afternoon, pushing back on the notion that Whitmer is flipping her stance, saying Whitmer has been a "sympathetic partner to businesses" in Michigan and that she will be "disbursing" $500 million "in funding to help businesses weather the pandemic."

"Since the safe and effective vaccines became widely available, Governor Whitmer has been working to support the goal of increasing our state’s vaccination numbers, so that we can protect more Michiganders and finally end this pandemic," Whitmer's office wrote. "While our approach in Michigan has not included any sort of mandate or restriction, the courts have allowed the federal government’s vaccine rule to move forward, which means employers across the country, including the state government in Michigan, will need to draft a plan to keep employees safe at work."

"As an employer of nearly 50,000 State of Michigan employees, the governor has been a sympathetic partner to businesses while we try to understand how the federal vaccine rule will work for our employees," her office continued. "To help alleviate some of that stress, the governor signed into law, and will be disbursing, $500 million in funding to help businesses weather the pandemic as we all work to figure out the logistics and implementation process to be in compliance with the federal government’s new rule."
 

Fox News' Caitlin McFall contributed reporting.