On Tuesday, President Joe Biden travelled to Michigan, where he praised Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) as “honorable” despite the fact that backlash is continuing to grow over her use of a private jet on a secret trip to Florida.
“You’ve got a backbone like a ramrod,” Biden said of Whitmer while speaking at the Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn electric vehicle plant, according to Deadline Detroit.
“You’ve got a brain as big as anybody in the business. And you’re so honorable,” he continued of the Democratic governor. “It’s a delight to know you. As I’ve said to you before, I’ll come campaign for you or against you, whatever will help you the most.”
Whitmer is up for reelection next year, should she decide to run again. She’s faced a series of scandals over the past year, with the latest revolving around the details of her secret trip to Florida. Whitmer initially claimed that her trip was strictly “personal” to visit her ailing father, who owns a property in West Palm Beach.
“I’ve said everything I am going to say about my trip to go check on my father,” Whitmer told a reporter last week when asked about the trip, according to CNBC. “It was a quick trip. It was an important family reason for doing it. And I have nothing to add.”
“I showed up when I was needed. I did a lot of cooking, a lot of cleaning,” Whitmer added. “When you’re the governor of Michigan, you’re always on the clock, but it does not mean that you’re not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her.”
However, Whitmer’s office has since admitted that her 501(c)(4) organization paid for the flight, which would would require an organization-related activity. Michigan Rising Action released a statement after this was revealed that if the trip had been strictly personal like Whitmer claimed, she would not have been allowed to use nonprofit funds for that activity.
“501(c)(4) groups are social welfare organizations and are not allowed to pay for personal expenses for officials,” the group said in a statement.
“Today’s revelations that Whitmer’s non-profit paid for her personal trip to Florida is shady and makes it clear why she tried to hide the trip and cover up who paid,” added Tori Sachs, Michigan Rising Action’s former executive director. “Either Whitmer’s Florida trip was for a legitimate 501(c)(4) purpose, in which case the c4 could pay for it, or it was personal, in which case a c4 can’t pay for it. Whitmer’s personal use of her 501(c)(4) account funds must be investigated.”