Over her recent travel controversy, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was trolled by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Cabinet members by sending her dozens of tourism pamphlets and telling her to not “be a stranger” in the Sunshine State.
It was earlier this month that Whitmer publicly warned Michiganders off of travel to other states, particularly the Sunshine State. As The Associated Press reported on April 3, Whitmer said: “that a factor in Michigan’s surging COVID-19 cases is fewer people were infected earlier in the pandemic than in other states, and she expressed concern about spring break travel to Florida.”
“Florida and Michigan have reported the highest and second-highest number of cases of a more contagious variant that was first identified in the U.K. Michigan had the United States’ worst infection rate in the past two weeks,” the AP reported.
Whitmer “urged people returning from Florida [that they should] work from home and have their kids learn virtually for at least a week. She and health officials later recommended that people get tested after in-state, out-of-state or international travel.” According to the AP.
“By the recent numbers, we know we’ve got a bit of a reality check happening,” Whitmer told reporters during a visit to a vaccination site in Oakland County, according to the AP. “We know that COVID is still very present and it is still a very real threat. We may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still in the tunnel.”
That “reality check” apparently hasn’t always been present at the top levels of state government, since — Quelle surprise — Whitmer had traveled to Florida herself and then lied about it, as Fox News reported Thursday. And her state’s chief operations officer had visited Florida as well.
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and his officials don’t seem upset about the hypocrisy, though. The state has a message for Whitmer: “Don’t be a stranger!”
In an open letter released Monday, Florida’s chief financial officer trolled Whitmer’s boat by providing her with some brochures to pass along to other Michiganders who might be interested in a trip south.
“With recent media reports that you and your Chief Operations Officer (COO) separately visited Florida, I wanted to take the liberty of providing you and your whole team with materials from VISIT FLORIDA, our state’s official marketing board, for future visits. Included in this letter I’ve attached a summary of promotional materials to help plan your next visit,” Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis wrote.
“As both you and your COO now know from personal experience, Florida is safe for travel. With over 5 million Floridians vaccinated, unlike a lot of other states, Florida has largely returned to normal. The fact is Florida had a lower mortality rate than the locked-down state of New York. Indeed, our Governor successfully balanced fighting the Coronavirus with keeping our small businesses open.”
Patronis wrote that: “No doubt, many of your fellow Michiganders traveled to the Sunshine State this year – and we proudly welcomed them! Moreover, much like yourself, many of your constituents likely have loved ones in Florida they haven’t visited in some time.
“I know members of your team are telling you to downplay the recent trips to Florida. Don’t listen to them. Now that you and your COO have personally experienced what the Sunshine State has to offer, I encourage you to share your experiences publicly. More importantly, however, don’t be a stranger!”
On Monday, a letter was sent by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to Whitmer regarding her recent travels to his state and provided the governor and her staff with tourism materials from the state’s “Visit Florida” marketing board to “help plan” their next trip down.
“As both you and your COO now know from personal experience, Florida is safe for travel,” wrote Patronis. “With over 5 million Floridians vaccinated, unlike a lot of other states, Florida has largely returned to normal.”
The Florida CFO proclaimed that they “proudly welcomed” the many Michiganders traveling to Florida this year and pointed out that, similarly to the governor, they “likely have loved ones in Florida they haven’t visited in some time.”
“I know members of your team are telling you to downplay Florida. Don’t listen to them,” Patronis advised. “Now that you and your COO have personally experienced what the Sunshine State has to offer, I encourage you to share your experiences publicly. More importantly, however, don’t be a stranger!”
And ended the letter with “See you again soon.”