Michigan governor: Husband was trying "failed attempt at humor"

Adam Brewster

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that her husband "made a failed attempt at humor" in response to reports that he cited his connection to the governor when attempting to get his boat in the water. When Whitmer announced  businesses in parts of the state would be allowed to reopen on May 22 with restrictions, she encouraged people to "think long and hard" before visiting. 

According to a report from The Detroit News,Tad Dowker, the owner of NorthShore Dock LLC, posted on Facebook last week that he got a call from Whitmer's husband, Marc Mallory, who wanted to get his boat in the water before Memorial Day weekend.   

"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 wrote in the Facebook post. "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?'" Dowker added. CBS News has reached out to Dowker for comment, but has not heard back. 

State of State Michigan

Family of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, from left, husband Marc Mallory and daughters Sydney Shrewsbury and Sherry Shrewsbury react as she delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Al Goldis / AP

"Knowing it wouldn't make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up in the queue," Whitmer said, referring to her husband's call. "Obviously, with the motorized boating prohibition in our early days of COVID-19, he thought it might get a laugh. It didn't."

 "And to be honest, I wasn't laughing either when it was relayed to me because I knew how it would be perceived. He regrets it. I wish it wouldn't have happened," Whitmer added.

Retail businesses and restaurants and bars with limited seating were allowed to reopen on May 22 in the Upper Peninsula and parts of the northern Lower Peninsula, including the Traverse City region.  In a statement, Michigan Republican Party chair Laura Cox said, "Using your wife's political office to score favors is not a laughing matter." "The only joke here is that Governor Whitmer doesn't seem to understand how serious it is for a family member to misuse your office, however as a member of the Biden crew such behavior seems to be the norm," Cox added.

Michigan Rising Action, a conservative group that has been critical of Whitmer's response to the coronavirus pandemic, sent out a fundraising email criticizing "Whitmer's blatant hypocrisy." 

"It's clear that Whitmer and her family believe that there's one set of rules for them and another for the rest of us," the fundraising email says.

During her press conference on Tuesday, Whitmer also acknowledged that her husband visited their cottage in northern Michigan over the weekend. She said Mallory spent one or two nights there and raked leaves at their home. 

"We did not all pile in the car to go enjoy our second home, although that would have been permitted if we had," Whitmer said. 

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