Whitmer blasts 'racism' of protesters, defends Biden over sexual assault claims


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a recent press conference - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a recent press conference

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday denounced the armed protesters who rallied against her stay-at-home order last week, saying they exhibited “some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country.”

“The Confederate flags and nooses, the swastikas, the behavior that you’ve seen in all the clips is not representative of who we are in Michigan,” Whitmer said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We’re in a global pandemic. This isn’t something we just negotiate ourselves out of.”

Whitmer said her focus is on saving lives in a state where the coronavirus has claimed more than 4,000 lives.

“Whether you agree with me or not, I am working to protect your life if you live in the state of Michigan,” Whitmer said. “I’m going to continue to do my job regardless of what tweets come out, what polls come out, or what people think makes sense. We’re going to listen to facts and science. We’ve got to get this right.”

In the same interview, Whitmer defended presidential candidate Joe Biden against allegations leveled by his former congressional aide, Tara Reade, who says the former vice president sexually assaulted her in a Senate corridor in 1993. Biden vehemently denies wrongdoing.

Whitmer, who is a sexual assault survivor, is considered a potential running mate for Biden. Asked why she's giving Biden the presumption of innocence but didn’t do the same for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Whitmer said not all sexual assault allegations are “equal.”

“We need to give people an opportunity to tell their story. But then we have a duty to vet it. And just because you’re a survivor doesn't mean that every claim is equal,” Whitmer said. “It means we give them the ability to make their case. And then to make a judgment that is informed.”

Whitmer said she’s weighed the allegations against Biden.

“There’s not a pattern that goes into this,” Whitmer said. “And I think that for these reasons, I’m very comfortable that Joe Biden is who he says he is.”

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.