This right here is unbelievable.
This is a straight lie.
An absolute lie.
I'm going to start with a fact check from Politifact, which is by no means a conservative- or Republican-leaning outfit. It hosts a long article discussing this issue.
Let me start with this quote:
I could just wrap this entire clown show up right now.
For the sake of thoroughly trouncing Whitmer on her claims, let me dig in a bit deeper.
So within this left-leaning fact check, we have established two facts:
- Gretchen Whitmer issued an April 15, 2020 executive order that required nursing homes to create areas where Covid-19 patients could be sent if hospitals needed overflow.
- Gretchen Whitmer issued another order in May 2020 that required nursing homes to establish a space to isolate residents with Covid and created further instructions involving the hospital-to-nursing-home care pipeline.
This Politifact article is from March 2021. At that time, just over 15,000 Michiganders had died with Covid. Roughly a third of those were in nursing homes.
As an aerosolized virus with a very low mortality rate in the healthy population, Covid was practically guaranteed to infect every person at some point. The question is how much Whitmer's orders accelerated the advance of the virus in the most vulnerable population, since the vast majority of Covid deaths occurred in individuals over the age of 78.
How would the pandemic have played out differently if we didn't lock down businesses and schools and instead isolated the most vulnerable, ensuring they could be protected until the development of the vaccine?
We'll never know.
Here's another short report from May 2020 that criticized the governor for her orders:
Around this time, Whitmer realized the backwardness of her policies and began to start deflecting.
Following her April and May executive orders, Whitmer claimed in June 2020 that she never forced nursing homes to take patients.
Here's what she said:
Whitmer said there has not been a single instance where the state ordered nursing homes to keep COVID-19 patients.
She said the state followed CDC guidance to allow nursing home residents to come back after they were hospitalized as long as they had a separate unit that was separately staffed.
"That was the CDC guidelines, that's what we followed," she said. "We never required a single nursing home to take in a patient that was recovering from COVID-19, it's just plain false."
Notice how she deflects.
Nothing was her fault. She was simply following guidelines, comrade.
In the same month, Whitmer was also bragging about her nursing home efforts:
If these seem contradictory, you might be a normal person and not a politician.
There is a reason these things co-exist, however, and it comes down to the shadowy world of political nuance and speechcraft.
Whitmer says she homes "never were" forced to take Covid patients.
Like Obi-Wan Kenobi might say, that is true from a certain point of view.
Whitmer technically never put a gun to the heads of nursing homes and threatened to destroy them if she didn't listen. She never sent the police to go kick down a nursing home's door and force the managers to help them transport Covid patients under pain of death.
She didn't have to.
Instead, she did what any sleezy politician would do: She used executive fiat to create public policy that could legally strong arm anyone who refused her orders, but she sweetened the deal with incentives to make sure that wouldn't happen.
From WDIV Detroit:
...Whitmer didn't force COVID-positive patients to reside with COVID-negative patients. Instead, Whitmer incentivized the process by paying homes to take patients who had contracted COVID-19.
Reports indicate that Whitmer used significant taxpayer money to financially motivate these homes to take Covid patients.
Whitmer chose 21 nursing homes to take COVID-19 positive patients, six of which received 2-star ratings and were considered below average. Three ranked much below average with one-star ratings according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Each facility was paid $5,000 upfront for a COVID-19 positive patient and $200 per day per bed after that.
Most senior homes operate on a shoestring budget. Imagine what they were thinking when they realized they could get tens of thousands of dollars for housing sick people for a few days.
The details around these incentives and the back-door deals Whitmer made as part of her policies during spring 2020 are still under wraps. A large reason for that is that she made a sweet retirement deal with her former health director, Robert Gordon.
Even left-leaning MLive, Michigan's largest media outlet, noted that the deal was shady.
In a Jan. 26 interview, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had an emphatic answer to whether there was any legal agreement that barred her from speaking about the departure of former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon.
"No," she told MLive at the time. "I just, he's worked incredibly hard, I really am grateful for everything that we've done together over the past two years. It has been grueling. I wish him well. You know, there's no, there's not more to the story here."
Less than a month later, her office executed just such an agreement with Gordon, giving him $155,506 in severance pay and precluding either party from speaking more about his abrupt resignation.
Gordon later confirmed that Whitmer had asked him to resign.
Because you only fail up in politics, however, Gordon landed a sweet nomination from Biden for a position in HHS.
All of this points to Whitmer's dishonesty.
I want to remind you of a crime that made national headlines in May 2020. Whitmer's orders allowed an unstable young man who had tested positive for Covid to be placed in the same room of a nursing home as an elderly resident.
The young man savagely assaulted the man.
There was no reason for that perp to be in that nursing home, let alone that room.
The only reason he was there is because of Gretchen Whitmer.
So when Whitmer says she didn't "force" homes to take patients: Only that she used legal mechanisms and financial incentives to create a system that did that very thing, she is trying to cover up her abject failures instead of being held accountable.
Such a person cannot be trusted with power.