Whitmer says planned Trump event is ‘distressing,’ while Biden campaign is ‘following the science’

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said late Tuesday that President Trump’s planned campaign rally in her state is “very distressing” due to an expected lack of masks among attendees, adding when asked about a similar event that Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign is “following the science.” 

The Michigan governor told CNN that she is worried about Trump’s event on Thursday because the president has not encouraged mask wearing and has appeared in public wearing a mask only a few times during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We anticipate that he will be descending on this state and perhaps encouraging people to come maskless,” she said. 

But she expressed less worry about Biden’s Wednesday event in Michigan, saying the former vice president’s campaign is “following the science.”

“I know that they are scrupulously following the science,” Whitmer said. “They want to keep their supporters and the general public safe.”

“Whether you’re going to one event on Wednesday or the other on Thursday, I’m gonna do everything I can to keep the people of this state safe, whether they’re supporting all of the measures we’ve taken or not,” she added. 

Biden will visit Warren, Mich., on Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. for a live-streamed event. The following day, the president will head to the competitive swing state for a 7 p.m. event at an airport hangar near MBS International Airport in Freeland, Mich. 

The former vice president has worn masks at his public events, while Trump has rarely worn a mask in public. The president also instructed a reporter to remove his mask during a White House briefing this week, which the reporter refused to do.

Michigan requires masks to be worn in public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces and forbids indoor gatherings of more than 10 people. 

Whitmer told CNN on Tuesday that she expects supporters going to Trump’s event will not wear masks, but did not directly answer when host Anderson Cooper asked whether the state would enforce the restrictions at the event. 

“I don’t doubt that there will be people who want to show up at that event and will take their lead from the man himself and drop their guard and could subject themselves to COVID-19,” she said.

Sarah Hasse, a Trump campaign spokesperson, told The Hill that Whitmer is a “power-hungry hypocrite.”

“It’s clear the Governor’s double standard on President Trump and Joe Biden traveling to Michigan has nothing to do with coronavirus and everything to do with partisanship,” she said in a statement.

“Whitmer knows Biden has no leg to stand on with Michigan voters given his proposed $4 trillion tax hike and embrace of the job-killing Green New Deal, so she’s giving Biden cover to actually get on the campaign trail while attacking the President for doing the exact same thing,” she added.

The New York Times categorizes Michigan as a state where “new cases are lower and staying low.” The state is seeing about 716 new cases per day according to a seven-day average.

–This report was updated at 3:17 p.m.

Tags 2020 election 2020 presidential election Biden campaign campaign events Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign face coverings face masks Freeland Gretchen Whitmer Joe Biden mask mandate Masks Michigan Pandemic Warren

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