No one ever accused the Detroit News of being a conservative paper, but even the liberal editors have seen and heard enough of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has tried her best to turn the coronavirus pandemic into a stepping stone to national politics. The gambit appears to have worked; her constant media appearances, where she inevitably takes shots at President Donald Trump, have made Whitmer a favorite to be Joe Biden’s running mate in the general election.
But while Whitmer’s star is soaring, her hometown paper is taking a dim view of her political maneuvering.
In an editorial on Saturday, the Detroit News said Whitmer should pay more attention to what’s going on in Michigan and less attention to what Trump is doing in Washington.
“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer must send an unequivocal message to her constituents that Michigan is her priority in this hour of crisis,” wrote the paper. “Her running feud with President Donald Trump calls into question whether she’s acting in the best interests of this state, or on behalf of the Democratic Party.”
The editors said that her regular media appearances were giving rise to questions of where, exactly, the governor’s priorities were at this time of crisis.
“She’s also assumed the role of designated Democratic attack dog in this crisis, appearing almost daily on cable news shows to criticize the administration’s handling of the virus response,” the editorial continued. “That creates confusion about whether Whitmer is advocating for her Michigan constituents, or carrying out her duties as co-chair of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, or worse, serving her own ambition to be vice president.
“Trump apparently thinks it’s the latter,” the paper noted. “He’s singled out the governor for particular disdain, repeating often the unsupported claim that Whitmer is mishandling the crisis in her state. Last week he demeaned her by referring to her as ‘the woman from Michigan.’”
The Detroit News noted that, even though the governors of California and New York were every bit as hostile to President Trump under ordinary circumstances, they had learned to put aside those differences during the pandemic. Govs. Cuomo and Newsom understand, unlike Whitmer, that it is not to their states’ benefit for them to be feuding with Trump over the federal response.
“If everyone pulls together, the worst of the COVID-19 crisis might soon be behind us, and there will be time to return to the jousting of the election campaigns,” the editorial concluded. “Until then, Michigan residents need to know their governor is serving one master – them.”
It’s sad, but not surprising, to see politicians trying to make a name for themselves during this crisis. It’s nice, though, to see that even their natural allies in the liberal media are calling them out. Maybe there’s hope for the press yet.