Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s husband, Marc Mallory owns a boat. He asked that the marina staff put the boat in the water so that it would be ready for Memorial Day weekend. His request was denied.
Governor Whitmer lifted some of her stay at home orders last week, asking for people to behave responsibly as the coronavirus pandemic continues to be an issue in Michigan. One example she mentioned was that she didn’t want everyone to rush out to the waterfront regions of Traverse City. She wants people to “think long and hard” before crowds gather for relaxation on the water. Apparently, her husband didn’t get the memo.
Whitmer announced plans to lift restrictions on northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula ahead of the Memorial Day weekend on May 18. Three days after Whitmer warned that even a small spike in coronavirus cases would quickly put the hospital system in dire straits, a post on Facebook appeared from the owner of a marina. Governor Whitmer’s husband, Marc Mallory, a dentist, wanted his boat put into the water for Memorial Day weekend. NorthShore Dock LLC Tad Dowker explained that Mallory made the request of his staff and when Mallory was turned down, the inevitable happened. Mallory played the entitlement card. Not cool, dude.
Dowker’s Facebook post emerged Thursday — three days after Whitmer announced she would lift some business and travel restrictions on Northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, where there are many vacation destinations and fewer COVID-19 cases than other areas of the state.
Whitmer first issued a statewide stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the virus on March 23.
“This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen.”
“Well our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?’”
The good news is that after he tried to jump to the front of the line and was denied, Dr. Mallory accepted his answer without throwing a fit. At least that is what was in his second Facebook post. Dowker deleted the first post after it went viral. And, Dowker says he didn’t know they were his customers.
“After a long day of keeping crews running, adhering to the additional safety regulations that need to be in place to operate our small business and fielding calls from customers frustrated with our lagging installation schedule I was told the governor’s husband called asking for install availability,” the company posted. “Up until this point we, as a company, had no idea we installed their dock or boat.”
The governor and her husband, who have five kids, live in Lansing and own a property in the Elk Rapids area. No doubt it is normal for Mallory to head to that area during long holiday weekends with the family. This, however, is not normal times and his wife has embraced her inner authoritarian with vigor. Her stay at home orders for the state likely caused the marina owner to be backlogged in work. Perhaps the first and then second Facebook posts were a way for the marina owner to vent some frustration over the governor’s restrictions on his business. Who would blame him?
The governor’s spokesperson released a statement.
“Our practice is not to discuss the governor’s or her family’s personal calendar/schedules. And we’re not going to make it a practice of addressing every rumor that is spread online,” Brown said.
“There’s been a lot of wild misinformation spreading online attacking the governor and her family, and the threats of violence against her personally are downright dangerous,” she added.
It sounds as if the post was taken down after second thoughts. The response from Whitmer’s critics, which the marina owner had to have known would speak up over the obvious hypocrisy on display, probably overwhelmed his staff during such a busy time.
Mallory isn’t a villain here, by the way. He just messed up by asking for special treatment. He had a very American reaction to a holiday weekend – let’s take out the boat. What is ridiculous has been his wife’s iron fist on private citizens wanting to travel to their own property, like a second home. She told them to remain in their primary residence, which seems ridiculous. What harm would come from traveling in a car to shelter in place at another property? Authoritarianism is a hella drug. For that matter, what harm would come from a boater on the open water enjoying the outdoors?
The property owned by the governor and her husband is reported to be about 25 minutes from Traverse City. Lansing is over 150 miles away, according to this report.
The fallout was what you would expect, especially for a woman who is on Joe Biden’s shortlist of vice-presidential candidates. Republican lawmakers posted their own Facebook responses to the whole kerfuffle. Those responses are being muted, though, out of deference to the governor’s office.
State Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, wrote his own Facebook post on Friday, criticizing Mallory’s apparent request for the boat installation. The post was shared 500 times, Barrett said.
But the lawmaker said he eventually deleted it after the governor’s office reached out to the staff of Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, asking for the post to be removed and contending the comments were false.
Barrett, who looked into the situation further, said he now believes the governor’s office had made him an “unwilling” accessory in an attempted cover-up of the situation. The senator also mentioned that Whitmer had told other Michigan residents not to “descend” on Traverse City.
“Yet, what did her family try and do?” Barrett said.
Republicans always do this – back down on reasonable criticism and this lawmaker now realizes he got played. Republicans never learn, do they?