The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced this week that it will be honoring Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) with the “profile in courage” award for her COVID-19 response, and it is already backfiring in a big way, as the move is being slammed as “tone-deaf.”
Despite the fact that Whitmer has made numerous questionable decisions in handling the coronavirus pandemic, the JFK Library still decided to make her one of the seven people who will be honored with the new “COVID Courage” award. The JFK Library announced on Tuesday that this award is meant to honor seven people on the “front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic that were going above and beyond their everyday responsibilities to help those in their communities.”
“When Michigan’s first cases of COVID-19 were identified in early March 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer invoked emergency powers in a bid to contain the spread of the virus and save lives, issuing early, controversial orders to close schools and businesses, mandate mask wearing, and ban large gatherings, among other measures,” the JFK Library said in a statement explaining why Whitmer was given this honor.
“While her leadership earned praise from many, she also faced sustained, vocal backlash over stay-at-home rules that remained in place as COVID-19 cases in Michigan continued to rise during the spring,” the statement continued. “Protests over Whitmer’s pandemic response became increasingly threatening, with armed demonstrators surrounding and at one point storming the state capitol to demand an end to stay-at-home orders. In October, thirteen men were charged with a June 2020 plot to kidnap Whitmer.”
“The men were said to be motivated at least in part by anger and resentment over pandemic restrictions,” the JFK Library added. “Despite violent threats against her life, Whitmer did not back down. She stayed focused on following the science and listening to public health experts to get the pandemic under control and start rebuilding Michigan’s economy.”
We're grateful to frontline heroes across the country. Learn more about the seven honorees who represent the courage and national sacrifice we have witnessed in so many aspects of American life here: https://t.co/c2w0ZziaAD
— JFK Library (@JFKLibrary) May 4, 2021
Given the fact that Whitmer has become infamous all over the country for enacting some of the most needlessly strict COVID-19 measures in the country, many were outraged that she was given this award. Former Michigan Senate candidate John James (R) spoke out to slam the JFK Library as “tone-deaf” for honoring Whitmer in this way.
“I actually understand that this is one of many awards that our governor has been winning recently. I heard that she’s recently won two job creator jobs awards in Ohio and Indiana and the number one real estate developer in Florida,” James joked while appearing on “Fox & Friends.”
“And when you talk about profiles in courage, people who will put themselves in harm’s way to do the right thing versus a politician who maybe is under draconian orders that have sacrificed livelihoods and lives, it looks politically motivated at worst, and tone-deaf at best,” he added. “There are a lot of people who are struggling around Michigan.”
Not stopping there, James indicated that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is the governor who really deserves this award.
“Governor Ron DeSantis is a military veteran. He understands what it’s like to make life-and-death decisions,” James said. “He’s not one of these other politicians who moved through this COVID crisis, through polling and panic. I believe that we need more leaders like this. And I think that that’s how you prevent this from happening.”