Whitmer Responds To Boat Controversy — Says Her Husband Was Just Joking

WWJ News
May 26, 2020 - 5:16 pm

(WWJ) Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her husband was only kidding when he dropped her name while trying to get their boat in the water.

At a news conference Tuesday, the governor responded to a storm of controversy brewing since the holiday weekend.

"My husband made a failed attempt at humor last week when checking in with the small business that helps with our boat and dock Up North. Knowing it wouldn't make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up in the queue," said Whitmer.

It was alleged that Whitmer's husband, Marc Mallory, told a Northern Michigan business owner, "I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?" after Mallory was told that the business owner would not be able to put the couple’s leisure boat into the water due to a three-week backlog of requests due to Whitmer’s executive orders.  

"Obviously with the motorized boating prohibition in our early days of COVID-19, he thought it might get a laugh. It didn't. To be honest I wasn't laughing either when it was relayed to me because I knew how it would be perceived," Whitmer said.

Whitmer added that her husband regrets the incident, she wishes it hadn't happened, and that's all her family will have to say about it. 

Responding to Whitmer's explanation for her husband's behavior, Laura Cox, Michigan Republican Party Chairman said, in a statement: "Using your wife's political office to score favors is not a laughing matter. How many times has Governor Whitmer's husband told this 'joke' to gain special favors from businesses? The only joke here is that Governor Whitmer doesn’t seem to understand how serious it is for a family member to misuse your office, however as a member of Biden crew such behavior seems to be the norm.”

The governor said over the last couple of months there's been "an explosion of rampant rumors and violent death threats" against her and her family.

"Because of that, I'm not going to get into the business of refuting and discussing every aspect of my whereabouts or dispelling every inaccurate statement or post," she said. "Because frankly there's just too many to keep up with." 

"My family has had men with automatic rifles standing in view of our front window outside of our home," Whitmer said. "We have read the vile things that people have said and written in response to my stay home, stay stay safe order, my daughters have seen the likeness of their mother hung from a noose in effigy." 

Responding to a question about rumors her family went Up North over the holiday weekend, while Whitmer has urged people to stay home, she said:

"My husband did go up to our place in Antrim County and raked some leaves and came home — so he was there," Whitmer said. "We didn't all pile in our car to enjoy our second home; although that would have been permitted if we had."

While Whitmer pointed out that she dropped her ban on traveling to second homes in Michigan a few weeks ago, she urges Michiganders, prior to Memorial Day weekend: “Don’t descend on Traverse City from all regions of the state. If you’re fortunate enough to have a place up north and you’re headed there, bring your groceries with you and try not to go out unnecessarily.”

Regardless, Whitmer said, her family has mostly been staying home during the pandemic.