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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday her husband’s reported request to have the family’s boat put in the water despite his wife’s stay-at-home order was a “failed attempt at humor.”

“My husband made a failed attempt at humor last week when checking in with a small business that helps with our boat and dock up north. Knowing it wouldn’t make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up in the queue,” Whitmer said at a press conference Tuesday. “Obviously with the motorized boating prohibition in our early days of Covid-19, he thought it might get a laugh. It didn’t.”

Whitmer attempted to distance herself from her husband’s remarks. “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. And that’s really all we have to say about it,” she continued.

Whitmer, a Democrat, famously has imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the country, sparking frequent protests. What’s more, she’s told people not living in Northern Michigan, the only region in the state where the lockdown has been lifted, to stay away from vacation spots there during the holiday weekend.

But in Facebook posts by NorthShore Dock LLC, its owner, Tad Dowker, described a request from Whitmer’s husband, Marc Mallory.

“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, The Detroit News reported. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happen.”

He continued, “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 docking company later noted that Mallory respectfully accepted that the accommodation would not be possible.

Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown refused to comment on the matter on Monday, saying the administration wouldn’t address “every rumor that is spread online.”

She said in 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. 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.”

Last Monday, Whitmer announced restrictions would be lifted in some regions of Northern Michigan, but urged those who didn’t live in the region to stay away. “If you don’t live in these regions… think long and hard before you take a trip into them,” she said. “A small spike could put the hospital system in dire straits pretty quickly. That’s precisely why we’re asking everyone to continue doing their part. Don’t descend on [waterfront] Traverse City from all regions of the state.”


The vacation property Whitmer and her husband have owned is about 25 minutes from Traverse City, according to The Detroit News, but the family permanently resides in Lansing, over 150 miles away.

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