As tensions rise, Gov. Whitmer faces Michigan showdown on quarantine order

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has expressed alarm at armed protesters and a rise in violent threats made against her and others as she presides over Michigan’s coronavirus outbreak. (Bridge file photos by Dale Young)

On Thursday, pro- and anti-quarantine protesters plan to face off in dueling demonstrations on the Capitol grounds in Lansing, two weeks after armed activists set off a heated debate over the limits of gun rights.

Across parts of Michigan, businesses, residents and some law enforcement agencies are openly flouting restrictions put in place by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

And on Friday, lawyers for Republican state lawmakers will argue in court why those restrictions cross the line into unconstitutionality in one of the most high-profile showdowns yet between the Democratic governor and GOP leaders.

Strung together, the week’s events put Michigan at the forefront of a combustible clash between personal freedoms and a governor’s emergency powers during a once-in-a-century pandemic. It’s a challenge being contemplated in states across the country as they consider whether and how to loosen restrictions in the face of public health warnings and economic catastrophe. 

It’s also a high-stakes political test for Michigan’s first-term governor, whose response is being watched across the state and much of the nation. 

“Usually in a national crisis, the country rallies. We often see this reflected in a rally-around-the-flag effect,” said David Dulio, a professor of political science at Oakland University. 

“The divisions that are exposing themselves in Michigan, those are due to the incredibly politically polarized times that we’re living in. Everything seems to always turn out that it gets ratcheted up.”

Protests ahead

On Thursday, Lansing will see the third in a series of protests against Whitmer’s executive orders. The first, put on by the Michigan Conservative Coalition on April 15, was supposed to be limited to a parade of cars honking horns, sporting signs and blocking Lansing streets. Hundreds of people ended up walking on the Capitol lawn, breaking social distancing guidelines as they protested. It became one of the first of a series of similar demonstrations around the country. 

The second protest was put on on April 30 by Michigan United for Liberty, a group formed in March in response to the “government overreach by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.” In one chaotic day, the GOP-led Legislature denied Whitmer’s request to extend her emergency powers, Whitmer signed a new declaration extending the state of emergency through May 28, and hundreds of demonstrators showed up to the Capitol carrying signs decrying Whitmer.  

In attendance were members of the Michigan Liberty Militia, carrying rifles and wearing tactical gear. Organizers said they were invited to serve as security detail. Protestors, some with guns, went into the building and demanded access to the House floor, yelled at police and heckled legislators from the gallery. 

Democratic lawmakers came away from the day shaken. Sen. Sylvia Santana of Detroit wore a bulletproof vest and Rep. Sarah Anthony of Lansing came to the building the next week accompanied by an armed escort to protest what she said were the protesters’ tactics of “intimidation and fear.” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, a vocal Second Amendment advocate, supported peaceful protesters but called the threatening demonstrators “a bunch of jackasses” on Facebook.

Photos of armed white protesters above the Senate floor drew immediate comparisons with an incident in 1999, when House Republicans installed a metal detector outside the gallery when demonstrators from the predominantly African-American city of Detroit came to the Capitol to protest a takeover of city schools. 

In the days since, it’s renewed a debate about whether firearms — which are currently allowed in the Capitol building — should be barred. A panel mostly appointed by Republicans decided not to act Monday, instead forming a committee to consider the question, a decision decried by Democrats who accused the commission of delaying to please Republican leadership. 

Raising the political temperature further, the Detroit Metro Times reported Monday that at least four private anti-quarantine Facebook groups featured violent threats being made against officials, including Whitmer, ahead of the Thursday protest. 

“We need a good old-fashioned lynch mob to storm the Capitol, drag her tyrannical ass out onto the street and string her up as our forefathers would have,” one man wrote. 

With all this in the rearview, it’s heightened the stakes for Michigan United for Liberty’s protest Thursday. Nearly 500 people have RSVP’d to the event on the group’s website.

Group administrators did not respond Tuesday evening to a detailed inquiry from Bridge about the protest. But the group posted a warning to gun-carrying attendees on Facebook: “This is a reminder that if you choose to carry on the 14th, please do so responsibly!! They will be watching us. We need our 2A rights protected just as much as our 1st Amendment rights.”

While certainly the largest group pledging to show up to Lansing, they may not be alone. A small counterprotest is organized by Lansing-based Democratic activist Mike McCurdy, who said he felt it was important to stand up to some protesters’ use of “consistently racist symbology” like confederate flags and, in one instance from the first protest, a Republican congressional candidate who appeared in a photo with a member of the Proud Boys, a far-right “western chauvinist” group. 

“It’s dangerous, it’s a little bit scary. A lot of angry armed people gathering together who have been making death threats against our governor and other people,” McCurdy said. “Anybody we get we’ll be happy to be out there.”

Michael Lynn Jr. — a Lansing firefighter who was among six locals who escorted Anthony to the Capitol building with firearms last week, citing the threat of white supremacists — told Bridge his group has offered the same services to four lawmakers and will show up if they accept, though no one has yet.

“We had to do something,” Lynn said. “We didn’t believe that it’s fair for them to stack the deck by intimidating our elected officials.”

Michigan State Police, accused by a community health board in Ingham County on Monday of endangering public health by failing to enforce social distancing rules during previous protests, also expects to step up their enforcement Thursday. At the previous protests, state police did not issue any tickets but made two arrests, one for assault and one for disorderly conduct.

“It is our expectation that anyone coming to the Capitol on Thursday will adhere to the Executive Orders in regards to wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing for their own safety and that of everyone else,” spokesperson Shanon Banner told Bridge in an email. 

“Based on previous demonstrations over the last couple of weeks, it is evident that not all people voluntarily comply with the safety measures put in place through executive order to slow the spread of COVID-19, and for those people, we will be prepared to take enforcement action, as necessary.”

A battle over enforcement 

Outside of Capitol grounds and around the state, local police and sheriff’s departments have been responsible for enforcing Whitmer’s executive orders. 

In some places, like Detroit, that’s resulted in hundreds of citations for people who ignore safety measures. 

But in other areas, it’s clear people won’t face consequences for violating the directives, at least for now. Last month, sheriffs in four northern Michigan counties — Benzie, Manistee, Mason and Leelanau — said they won’t enforce Whitmer’s “vague” executive orders, which they said overstepped her executive authority.

And on Monday, a Shiawassee County Circuit Court judge declined a request from the Attorney General’s office to shut down an Owosso barber who has stayed open despite the shutdown orders. Members of another militia, the Michigan Home Guard, stood watch over 77-year-old Karl Manke’s business Monday in case the police came to shut him down.

“I don’t need the governor to be my mother," Manke told the Flint Journal as he became an unlikely folk hero to conservatives protesting Whitmer’s economic lockdown. “I’ll be open until Jesus walks in or until they arrest me,” he vowed. 

Asked about the barber and those like him Monday, Whitmer said her orders “are not optional” and carry the weight of law, and “I expect people to follow the law.” She did not address, however, how or whether she might compel local police to enforce the law.

“It absolutely matters” whether the executive orders are enforced, Dulio of Oakland University said. Without enforcement measures, it’s up to people to self-police, which can get harder over a long period of time. 

The Whitmer administration may have options for Manke and others, like pulling business licenses or, in the case of Capitol protests, direct state police to step up citations. But each option carries political risks. 

If the administration does nothing to enforce it, it gives people the message that it’s OK to flout the rules, Dulio said. “And if you crack down, you look like a tyrant. I wouldn’t want to be in her position.”

The legal fight ahead

Dulio and Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, noted that while protests and civil disobedience from businesses might get a lot of attention, a majority of Michiganders still approve of Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic. 

“There’s a lot more fury on display, but the actual public opinion data suggests that the public is supportive of the policies and in no hurry to change direction,” Grossmann said. 

Republicans in the state Legislature have said they at least want a say in what that direction will be — and they’re taking Whitmer to court to prove that they deserve it. 

The GOP-led House and Senate filed a suit against Whitmer last week, claiming her decision to extend her emergency powers without their approval is illegal and “nonsensical.” Whitmer contends she does have a right to extend her powers — and the orders enabled by them, such as the stay-at-order — without their approval because of a 1945 law that doesn’t require lawmakers to sign off. 

The parties are set to argue their case Friday morning before Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens. It’s expected to eventually head to the state Supreme Court.

Some legal experts have said it seems unlikely the Legislature will prevail, with one — John Pirich, a elections lawyer who has worked for Republicans but backed Whitmer in the 2016 election — telling Bridge that Whitmer’s power is “crystal clear on its face.”

But that doesn’t mean the GOP doesn’t have a significant stake in trying: “They look at themselves as a co-equal branch of government in a system that has shared powers and I think they want to try to help, or at least influence public policy,” Dulio said. 

Grossmann argued that they have already influenced the governor multiple times: GOP leaders cried foul after Whitmer issued a second stay-at-home order with new limitations on retail stores and travel, and Whitmer later relaxed those rules in a later order. They also pushed for the governor to reopen low-risk industries before others, which eventually led her to open manufacturing, construction and outdoor industries.

But for both Whitmer and the GOP, the political powers and posturing will likely matter less than the outcome for public health, Grossmann said.

“People will forget the hubbub if the policy is successful or unsuccessful,” he said. 

“We get caught up in the messaging wars, but this is a case where people will really notice if the [COVID-19] cases start to go back up, if there has to be a change in policy again, or if it’s lifted and things go back to normal. People will notice all of those different outcomes and that’s far more important than the political ones.”

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Kevin Grand
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:23pm

"But in other areas, it’s clear people won’t face consequences for violating the directives, at least for now. Last month, sheriffs in four northern Michigan counties — Benzie, Manistee, Mason and Leelanau — said they won’t enforce Whitmer’s “vague” executive orders, which they said overstepped her executive authority."

Since Ms. Beggin is so clueless as to why Gov. Karen's "orders" are vague, then I would recommend that she peruse the ever growing FAQ page on her website.

If there was any rationale behind her XO's, there would not be any need for it in the first place.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:40pm

And in addition to the sheriffs mentioned, the prosecuting attorney for Antrim county publicly declared he would not prosecute people or businesses for violation of the executive laws. I have to wonder if public declarations such as these could be used in a court of law for any future wrongful death lawsuits against those counties. And I am not having any trouble at all reading those multi-syllable words on the FAQ page.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:25pm

People are holding banners like it's a Trump rally and Trump said the governors are in charge. So are those Trump supporters in favor of Whitmer?

You Go Girl!
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 4:53pm

Wait, I think so, many of President Trump's supporters love Governor Whitmer. I think Governor Whitmer may end up Vice President for President Trump, if Vice President Biden doesn't snap her up quickly. Governor Whitmer is doing a much better job than President Trump, Vice President Pence, and unelected Grand Poobah Jared Kushner COMBINED.

Just sayin'
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:47pm

The only thing we know for sure is that greedy Manke likes to play with the fire that is COVID19 and spread infection. In business all those years and he didn't save money for a disaster? How did he get through the great recession of 2008?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:04pm

Did anyone else notice how dumb Rand Paul is?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 4:29pm

After the first five minutes of his hogging the camera I had to turn it off.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 4:54pm

Yes, is he mentally ill? One wonders if the COVID19 is eating at his brain festering in his beard.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 6:18pm

Yep, it didn't go unnoticed. Satire from The Borowitz Report
Rand Paul Says Secret to Social Distancing Is Making Everyone Despise You
The senator also questioned whether wearing a mask protects someone as well as saying incredibly asinine things does.

Jennifer E
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:30am

Yes, Mr. Paul, masks do protect you and, yes, Paul says incredibly asinine things especially as someone who famously contracted COVID19 already once.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 6:01pm

That's it... character assassinate the old guy... if you can dehumanize him, you can take his property, rights, and life without feeling bad. It's a good tactic. Just a tip- you need to point out that he's male and white- if you can make him racist and sexist, you can increase the hatred for this deplorable non-person and feel even more morally superior. Also, don't let anyone know that you are a pajama-wearing pot-smoker living in his parent's basement- that'll just weaken your feeling of supriority.

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 2:14pm

Yes, let's label the 77 year old Barber as "greedy" because he needs to sustain his existence.

Former Republican
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:11pm

We should all learn to work together. We are now in the Greatest Economic Depression ever, forever to be known as the Great Trump Depression! Here's to 2030 when we start to get back to some normalcy. Trump has been so reckless in every respect, but we all knew that would happen when we elected him, trusting the corrupted electoral college instead of ourselves. At least we all had some good laughs and drama from our first "Reality TV" president. Now it's time for change, from the ground up. Let's drain the swamp for real. To start, NO presidential candidates who hide tax returns.

Sergio Fascetti
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 11:35am

My favorite Benito Mussolini quotes...
"Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State." - from "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932)
"If the 19th [century] was the century of the individual (liberalism means individualism), you may consider that this is the "collective" century, and therefore the century of the state."- "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932)
"It is no longer economy aiming at individual profit, but economy concerned with collective interest." -Mussolini, Four Speeches on the Corporate State, Laboremus, Roma, 1935
"You want to know what fascism is like? It is like your New Deal!" - As quoted by Mussolini in Mr. New York: The Autobiography of Grover A. Whalen by Grover Aloysius Whalen, 1939
"We want an extraordinary heavy taxation, with a progressive character, on capital, that will represent an authentic partial expropriation of all wealth..." -From Mussolini's Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Italian Combat Fasci), Il Popolo d'Italia newspaper, June 6, 1919

middle of the mit
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 10:29pm

kAren, don't blame Governor Gretchen because you want to push "your perception" of the English NOT American language down other peoples throats who own a dictionary.

I thought you were the people who "know" common sense.

Yet when other people talk to you, it's almost like you are duane.. and words and truth are just what people perceive. That works for favorite colors and food and even beauty.

It doesn't work for a civil society. And from the comments I see from you and other conservatives let alone the real don't want a civil society.

You want things your way. I have said this before, so I will say it again. THIS LOCKDOWN SUCKS! But are YOU willing to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for those who end up dead when we open up?

NO! I have talked to people who share your opinion. "Why should WE take responsibility for a disease?"

Let me tell you why.

Because we will be taking YOUR ROUTE to deal with the virus that you don't think is there.

If you are going to lead, like the Governor, YOU need to take responsibility. The Governor IS taking responsibility. The Republicans can change the law anytime they want. They have that ability. They could also consult with the same experts that the Governor is and work with her.

The problem is that Republicans will Shirk blame eitherway. Nothing is ever your fault. You can talk about how poor liberal cities are being run, take one over, screw it all up and poison people and you still blame the people you took the city over from.

If YOU TAKE OVER A CITY YOU OWN IT! When are Republicans EVER going to be held responsible for NOT GOVERNING!

Never ever. That is what they are elected to do........Not govern.

That is what business does.

Get ready for business controlling Government................Wait.............isn't that what we already have?

And these dillhole conservatives think we are a communist nation?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

You think the people are stealing your money while you continue purchase products from companies who have cut wages and hours and given bonuses in the mulit millions to CEO's and share holders!!!!

How dense are you?

Apparently dense enough to want to die to continue doing it.

Middle of the Mitt?
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:11am

Your comments are always so entertaining! You have no idea how to structure a sentence and you LOVE exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!

Please - point to ONE death that was caused by EVERYONE who is SELFISH (and wants to work). Just one.

Do you, basement dweller, take responsibility for passing a cold or flu on to someone? You know you have. So SELFISH!!!!!!! Aren't multiple exclamation points effective!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????

Call me dense but at least I understand punctuation. How's the gender studies degree working out for you? Wait until your magic mailbox money runs out and you realize your credit is no good at the pot dispensary. Careful though - you may pick up a random germ on that check in your mom's mailbox!

Dave N
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:01pm

Having worked with multiple people from formerly Soviet bloc countries, they conveyed to me one main feature was the sheer pettiness of their dictators and the vagueness of their laws. It is designed to be just like that. Of course, people “disappear “ if they violate some publish or unpublished law (like 77 year old barbers), but it is the daily pettiness of dictatorial rule that weighs on people, grinding them down.
Just laws should be followed, but those people who enforce unjust laws have all the moral credibility of the Nazis who said at their post war criminal trials “They were only following orders”. Please keep pushing Comrade Gretchen. Let’s see how it all shakes out. Destroying a state for political purposes will certainly have some ramifications I would think.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 6:24am

Yea, first they came for barbers... I think that's how it always starts. Analogizing our circumstance to the Soviet era may be one of the stupidest comments ever made.

Kevin Grand
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 7:13am

Please elaborate on how a 77 year old man who is following all of the "recommended health procedures" that have been forced upon big box and grocery stores, is now considered a threat to public safety and must be crushed?

Donna H.
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:35am

To compare a barber to a big box store is ludicrous. Barbers by the nature of their business must get very close to their customers. As I read the rules, no one in a big box store is supposed to be closer than 6 feet to another person. A barber is close to his customer in an enclosed space. At this point, those two things, even if both people are wearing masks, can cause the spread of Covid-19..

Dave N
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:27pm

Your response is a regurgitation of a rule that you choose to blindly follow, whether it’s right or wrong. Dictatorships rely on compliant sheep to exist. Women were Hitlers biggest supporters, which is one reason he didn’t get married until the end. Some of us still believe in liberty and individual responsibility. We are not slaves of the state. If you choose to be, that is your choice, but I will not join you.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:28pm

Trump wants everyone to be "warriors" so he can reopen the economy. I say we all get a note from our doctor saying we have "bone spurs". We are not slaves to billionaire capitalists either.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:53pm

CCTUTOR68, thank you for putting things in perspective so eloquently.

Tree Cutter
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 7:56pm

You may want to do something called research and see who these Billionaires are. You’ll find they are the hedge fund folks from NYC and the high tech robber barons, hardly capitalists as they love working with the government. It’s called crony capitalism. You’ll find they are mainly democrats in that the democrats aren’t very sharp and more easily corrupted. I’ll not defend the R’s either. They just charge more to be corrupted.

I don’t mind working as I feel it benefits society and I am not a parasite sucking the blood from my fellow workers. Every organization has unproductive members. I’m sure they would gladly use your bone spur excuse.

Sad vet
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:38am

Starting with the President Trump, eh Tree Cutter? That's why he never showed his tax returns, even though he vowed he would. He's a parasite living in public housing with bone spurs. So he never served in the military, like I did.

Shirley Surly
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:51pm

Your response is a regurgitation of a rule that you choose to blindly follow, whether it’s right or wrong. Dictatorships rely on compliant sheep to exist. Men were Hitlers biggest killers and when he got married is irrelevant as he had no capacity for LOVE. Some of us still believe in liberty and individual responsibility. We are not slaves of the state. If you choose to be, that is your choice, but I will not join you. Look up the works you use, dumbass.

Kevin Grand
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:35pm

So, those people running food out of restaurants to cars waiting outside and cashiers at those same big box stores ringing up purchases to masked customers standing close together are also a threat?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:38pm

In your world what doesn't or can't spread COVID? To what level of improbability do you take this? We've heard the Gov blame gas pumps. You see big majorities of folks in big box stores etc wearing masks but very few wearing gloves. I see people driving, riding bikes or walking by themselves outside wearing masks ... why I don't know. What is the end game for all this?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:56pm

Big Gretch should give you a call, instead of consulting with scientist at UofM. You realize that's sarcasm, right?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:06pm

Maybe calling that person would be better than consulting with "scientist at UofM", who lacks a name right now. Maybe talking to my dog would have provided a more reliable model of the progress of the virus than the 'experts' who said that millions would soon be dead from the virus. Maybe if I took a crap and made it talk, it would be as accurate at predicting what spreads the virus as the Chinese-bought 'scientists' at the WHO. We'll never know the answers to these questions though, since neither my crap nor dog can talk.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:11am

Barbers and their shops actually fulfill important social roles across an array of Michigan male cultures. Exactly why Wretched Gretchen shut down barbershops (and every other guy activity).

You are just too anti-social to realize this or benefit from their social benefits.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:05pm

She is the Governor. Please obey her orders, she's trying to stop the spread.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:58pm

But Tinker20, 10x25mm feels mentally castrated, can't deal with a female governor.

Mary Sue
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:21pm

The Governor doesn't have the authority to issue orders. She's a Governor, with authority to enact the orders of Congress. Her efforts to stop the spread are killing thousands of people, breaking rights and liberties, destroying property and wealth, and causing problems that will take years to recover from... while not saving a single person. Wake up!

Sharon White
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:03pm

Sorry, but the laws say otherwise. You should do some research before you spout nonsense.

middle of the mit
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 8:40pm


Women spend more money and more time in a salon than any guy does EVAH!!!

In fact, I haven't paid to have my hair cut since I had to pay more than $2 per minute for my 10 minute haircut. I bought a $25 pair of clippers and never looked back. That was 15 or more years ago. If I can do it, you can too! At least until the virus can be contained. What?!?! I can't use MY personal experience to extrapolate onto the populace Why they can't do what I do? LOL ha ha ha!

Why do people who have no degree in anything (like me) think they know everything?

Would you let me be your ophthalmologist? Why not? Rand Paul started his own school so that he could give himself credentials that no one else would give him.

That goes along with conservative thinking like Matts in that licensing commissions are just good 'ole boys clubs and they only allow a certain number into their club as opposed to all who qualify.

Isn't that why conservatives want to get rid of licensing requirements?

I will leave you with this thought.

You drive the roads don't ya? Everyone has a license. Do they deserve to have one? Do they obey the rules of the road and share the road as a common service, or do they think it's their road and if you don't want an will stop before there is one?

Americans and our vaunted infallibility in personal responsibility.

This is why drivers ed teachers teach explicitly DEFENSIVE DRIVING SKILLS.

In other words AVOIDANCE.

When you see people driving erratically down the road, you get out of the way. We are now seeing this is stores now though. People that refuse to wear masks walking aimlessly around stores and not doing the social distance thing.

There are going to be those who don't care about anyone but themselves and WE ARE FINDING OUT WHO THEY ARE.

Remember in November!

Sounds like Matt
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:00pm

Matt, I think you mean this, a quote by Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Bill Rolf
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 10:51am

Dave, I agree. I studied communism in Eastern Europe before I joined the State Department, and what I am seeing here is exactly the sort of tyranny that existed in those states. Fear, snitching, vague rules, two systems of justice, one business can sell appliances (Home Depot) but another can not (ABC Warehouse), police and courts weaponized, etc. I am stunned that it is happening here and that people are supporting it.

Every day this shut down stays in existence, more people die from delayed cancer screenings, avoiding vaccinations, increases in suicide and drug abuse and alcohol abuse, and lack of preventive medicine. Every day this shut down is followed, tax receipts (sales and income) drop and schools and teachers and healthcare providers and road workers face devastating cuts- and society will suffer. Whitmer is destroying the State of Michigan.

I call out fakes!
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:13pm

Did you leave the KGB to join the State Department? You seem very different from all the people in the State Department that I know.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:32pm

You misspelled "Trump".

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:00pm

I use the European spelling: tRUMP.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:20pm

Actually that's the common American spelling too, international. The small "t" represents his tiny hands and the "RUMP" represents his Big Mac-fed rear end. Please don't google tRUMP playing tennis. Otherwise your eyes will burn. Picture thick pasty white man cellulose thighs supporting an elephant's rear in white short shorts.

George Clinton
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:13am

The Governor's shut down orders are killing thousands, as evidence is piling up all over the place of increased drug and alcohol related deaths, skyrocketing suicide rates, delays in cancer treatments and screenings, no one getting any heart checks or preventive medicine, and even a halt to child vaccinations.

The Governor's shut down orders have destroyed the tax base in our state, causing income and sales tax receipts to plummet, which is going to deprive the state of $6 billion or more in income. That means massive cuts for education and the roads, or massive tax increases on anyone still working in our state.

Meanwhile, she did such a horrible job of running the executive branch that seniors died in nursing homes and senior living facilities, and inspections and oversight and data collection was pitiful. She took amateur and unimaginative steps to protect our most vulnerable, and even today has spent more time and effort bad mouthing protesters and promoting herself than doing her job.

Oh, but she's alarmed the people might be getting upset at her. Boo hoo.

Terry Fitzgerald
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:43am

While I believe that the Governor has overstepped her bounds in several important areas, I also believe that she is between a rock and a hard place. She, along with just about everyone in high authority, has to make life and death decisions that have lousy results regardless. Personally, I would hate to have to make those decisions. I am very, very far from being her fan, but I will support her as best as I can. One of the great fallacies of punditry is the notion of omniscience. We have a three tiered system in this Republic to deal with these complaints. It is called the Justice system. Use it and not a show of possibly violent force.

No kidding
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:42pm

Terry, I completely agree with you.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 6:55am

Protest and sue all you want, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party or whatever other abberant ideology you profess. The good news is that the governor's strategy for dealing with this virus is working and she made it work with no help from you.
From today's MLive:
1. Average number of new cases a day has plummeted.
2. Deaths are down 45%.
3. Hospitalizations are down 64% from a month ago.
4. Testing has almost tripled.
5. Testing is finding fewer new cases.
6. Michigan has fallen to 11th in per-capita coronavirus patients.
7. A projection model used by the White House projects a sharp drop in Michigan’s coronavirus deaths in June and July.

You go girl!

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:14am

Totally correct EB!, the improvements in numbers speaks for themselves !

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:48pm

That Trump is doing a heck of a job!

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:10pm

Trump is doing a crappy job. My Governor is doing a great job.

Don't worry
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:12pm

Matt is a complete nutjob. His bromance with Trump is a reflection of his acute Trump Derangement Syndrome. It makes no sense at all to credit Trump with Whitmer's tremendous success combating COVID19 in Michigan. She took courageous leadership and issued controversial orders which were gladly followed by the vast majority of us who TRUST her judgment. Meanwhile petty Trump has been having campaign rallies at the White House disparaging reporters and doing nothing to help fight COVID19. In fact, to be honest, his lies, slow actions, and misjudgments only have been making the situation worse.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:16pm

I think by "heck", Matt means "hellish".

Nick Ciaramitaro
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:39am

The President did no job at all. He said it was all up to the Governors. So he can't take credit or blame for their decisions. Too bad he didn't have the guts to at least recommend a plan.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:59pm

Correlation is not causation. Your seven bits of good news have no more validity in a debate than the usual, colorful parade of horribles used against Trump.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:02pm

EB, but the critics don't want us to beat the virus. They want democrats to fail.

Ann Farnell
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 4:31pm


Ann Farnell
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 4:32pm


Wed, 05/13/2020 - 8:57am

First of all, Riley Beggin, you're only African American if you were born in Africa, then migrated to the USA and later became a naturalized American citizen. If you were born here, you're just American. Stop race baiting.

Second of all, there is absolutely no comparison between the 1999 incident with its radical protesters and the peaceful protesters of last month. The 1999 Detroit school takeover happened because of a deteriorated, broken school system in the most corrupt city in Michigan and that takeover was largely supported by the parents AND students. The protesters were a group of cop-hating, race-baiting extremists who were trying to turn an issue that had to do with improving school conditions into a race issue (Much like bridge seems to be doing! Wow! Why won't race baiters just stay under their bridge!).

The protesters of last month have massive support from a peaceful, hard working element in this state and that group has no malice towards law enforcement nor cops. They were completely peaceful. On the other hand, the Black element that protested in 1999 was not only smaller and lacked statewide support, but also came from a group of people were taught and continue to be taught, by the media, their parents, pop culture, you name it - to hate cops and law enforcement, and had been lobbing threats before, during and after the incident.

This article is just as idiotic as the ones supporting Whitler's idea that the State Police are racist because they are "mostly white" - Braindead people seem to forget that law enforcement is a volunteer-based group - People *choose* this career, and if you teach a group of people to hate law enforcement, then members of that group are far less likely to choose a career in law enforcement.

Stop trolling, Riley.

I call racist
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:19pm

You are full of crap and just giving yourself the name "Revere" does not make you a patriot.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:05pm

Of course! That's why there are so few Italian Americans, Asian Americans, etc.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 10:09am

"Raising the political temperature further, the Detroit Metro Times reported Monday ..."
I read that as the Metro Times is the specific news media that raised the political temperature, but I could be wrong. Did you mean the Facebooks posts raised the temperature or the specific news media did so because they reported on the posts?
All else good. Thanks for the article.

David Zeman
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:26pm

yes, the latter, sorry. we meant that the exposure of those violent posts raised the temp 

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 10:32am

If the unmasked idiots get the virus, so be it. Medical providers, unfortunately, will be forced to deal with them. And...if they think the virus is not contagious, just look to the idiocy of the White House which has finally taken steps to use masks other than for the orange haired one and the Vice President. Keep in mind, too, that while some of the Fox News? talking heads downplay the virus, Fox is continuing to keep the bulk of its staff working from home till June. So much for the BS on the air versus the real time events at Fox.

A Yooper
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:02am

Lock the doors to the Capitol Building complex to keep occupants safe.
Nobody gets in unless they have ID's or have State business.
No guns toters period.

Kevin Grand
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:15pm

What transpires inside of the Capitol Building IS the public's business.

Any "occupant" who doesn't want to be there can just as easily turn in their resignation.

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:12am

Televise it.

Susan Titus
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:04am

I strongly support Gov. Whitmer's executive orders to keep ALL of US SAFE.
In addition, the state capitol building belongs to all Michigan citizens...and I VOTE against any firearms being allowed in MY MICHIGAN Capitol building.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:04pm

... except for the people who are dying of suicides, alcohol or drug abuse, cancer, preventable diseases, and heart conditions. Those people aren't being kept safe- in fact, the Governor's order is going to lead to about twice as many people dying of those things than who die of the virus. But those people don't count, because they are probably Republicans or conservatives, who are deplorable non-people. I CAN WRITE IN ALL CAPS SO GIVE ME A COOKIE.

Eric Snow
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 4:30pm

The facts show that depression, alcoholism, suicide, etc all go up when unemployment goes up. The current cause of unemployment going up is not "conservatives in control of our government", but rather an order by the Governor (and just the Governor) that closed Michigan's economy down and has kept it closed. Most states and most nations have opened up, but not Michigan. That continued rise in unemployment due to Governor Whitmer, and her alone, is leading to higher rates of depression, alcoholism, suicide, etc. Thus it's not a bogeyman that is responsible, but rather one person's actions.

This is simple stuff and doesn't rely on conspiracy theories or name-calling. Search "depression, alcoholism, suicide up unemployment" and look at the stories that come up... there is overwhelming research that shows the correlation between the two.

middle of the mit
Sun, 05/17/2020 - 9:54pm

Yeah, it is almost like Governor Gretchen is doing something that no Leader is doing at all..........isn't it?

And I am done with you conservatives and your feigning care for people that you don't care about. Otherwise why would you be trying to take down Heritage Foundation Care AKA Obamacare?

If you are going to try to be honest, at least try.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:22pm

Great idea, referendum on the ballot in November. Let's see who wins. I agree with you and think the majority of Michiganders do as well.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:06am

A good law is one that makes sense to people and is not vague. A lot of Whitmer's dictates are neither. You can buy wood at Home Depot but not paint. You can buy paint At ACE but not at Lowes. Only essential stores can open, so selling Lottery tickets is OK but selling yarn is not ok. Boat ramps are closed but boating is not prohibited. And on, and on.

Better to tell people what you are trying to accomplish, rather than telling them how to do what you are trying to accomplish. If it's social distancing you want, then say that every store must have markings to enforce social distancing, whether that store is a yarn store or is selling food.

Whitmer has destroyed Michigan's economy, which according to Bridge yesterday means the schools will lose about $2,000 per pupil in state aid next year. The unemployment rate is like a rocket rising, and the roads are not getting fixed. Hopefully she is but a one term governor and someone with more sense and less ego will replace her in 2022.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:42pm

Can you tell us which states have better economies?

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:20am

What happened to Arjay, COVID19?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:30am

It's astonishing how cucked our libertarian friends are by the predatory capitalist mindset that pervades every facet of American existence, demanding that the poor be forced back to work in unsafe conditions rather than demanding the federal government extend the same sort of relief to the working class of this country that they do to Wall Street in order to weather this crisis. Y'all would disgust me if I didn't have to pity you for believing your fellow citizens are only worth whatevee profit can be wrung from them

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:46pm

Where do you get your money to buy groceries? If that's not assuming too much?

Smart Ant
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:54pm

I have savings, my mom and dad taught me the ancient Aesop fable of the ant and the grasshopper when I was young. Didn't yours, if that is not assuming too much, Matt?

The fable describes how a hungry grasshopper begs for food from an ant when winter comes and is refused. The situation sums up moral lessons about the virtues of hard work and planning for the future.

I don't live in debt like Trump, the most fiscally reckless president in the history of the US. The GOP always harps about not wanting help people who rely on welfare to get by saying people have to take personal responsibility. They say people should rely on themselves and their families, not the government if they are hungry or sick. Meanwhile the GOP always seeks and gets government handouts, like right now: CARES, PPP, etc.

Well, if you are having troubles right now, why is that? Sounds like you are just some hypocritical failure, with no savings or family that gets a damn about you. I guess the bed you make is the bed you sleep in. So enjoy your slumber with Trumpy Dumpty before his big fall in the November elections.

Sickened by GOP
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 3:06pm

Bones, isn't it amazing?

old hippie
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:35am

This is a life-or-death crisis we are facing. It’s all over the news : “Coronavirus cases spike in some U.S. cities and workplaces as stay-at-home restrictions relax. While some of the hardest-hit areas of the country are seeing cases fall, others are experiencing an uptick following the rollback of some restrictions.”
“Countries that reopened are closing down again as coronavirus infections spike”
Some rural cities without restrictions are seeing infections jump this week to 600% ! And Texas is reporting 1,000 / day infections. These are “real” statistics, not witchcraft.
While our Governor steps up to protect our lives, the career "politicians" response is to scramble to pander to the protests of tiny splinter factions and the 6 o’clock news to save their careers as the Big Blue Tsunami approaches.
These "politicians" are promoting the spread of the virus and death by inciting more protests. And so are those businesses and Sheriffs and prosecutors who refuse to protect the public through enforcement. Someone should look into legal action to charge them with high crimes and treason. At the least, wrongful death lawsuits could and should be filed against them by every local family who has lost someone to the Covid-19.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:57pm

Trump tweeted "Liberate Michigan" because it was his way to hold a reckless campaign rally here while in the comfort of his new golden throne in the White House. Guy can bear losing in November.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:39am

Hell let them brain damaged trump sheep die!!!

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 3:04pm

Don, I guess it's natural selection for God to weed them out, like he did for the great flood. Those dolts don't know they should heed the warnings to stay in the arc. Likewise God is showing us evolution right before our eyes, almost in real time.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 3:05pm

Don, I guess it's natural selection for God to weed them out, like he did for the great flood. Those dolts don't know they should heed the warnings to stay in the ark. Likewise God is showing us evolution right before our eyes, almost in real time.

Robyn A Tonkin
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:38pm

What Gretchen Whitmer and Joneigh Kaldouhn are trying to impart is that all we have right now are unanswered questions. We are dealing with a zoonotic disease that has already produced a more lethal genetic variant. Some young people are experiencing blood clots, that could become prevalent. Children are being identified as at risk for a systemic inflammatory response similar to Kawasaki disease. We know next to nothing about what we are actually dealing with.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks in this whole thing has been the six foot rule. In someplace like a cramped stuffy barbershop, if one asymptomatic person gets a haircut and sits there exhaling the virus, it will linger in the air. think everybody can be identified by their body temperature? doubtful. Think a loose mask held on by elastic around your ears will block the virus. Really doubtful. And a mask cannot block the virus from getting in your eyes, anyway.

Protesters want all this to be simple. More than that, they want to get back at a woman governor and the state's females top executives. The Republicans want to prevent the governor from functioning properly. If a lot of protesters ultimately die for the Republican cause, the Republicans will not care.

I don't understand the why of the rifles. Is everyone supposed to be scared?

You can open the state back up, and people are still not going to return en masse to service sector restaurants and personal care services. They're scared to.

Helen Wygonik
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 3:10pm

Robyn, I wish I knew the answers. I completely agree with you and support Governor Whitmer's efforts which seem very successful, objectively speaking. These numbskulls are only prolonging our economic agony and increasing our risks.

Ann Farnell
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:56pm

It’s pretty obvious that there are a coterie of male chauvinists who are accusing Gov. Whitmer of being a tyrant. The issue for them, I would argue is that she is a woman, thus, has no right to tell them what to do. At least one of them was almost honest that she is infringing on “male culture”. What he really meant though was “white male culture “or maybe even “white male superior culture. “ To be abominably blunt, do it your way and maybe you’ll drop dead of the virus. You asked for it, but the people you infect before you proved your point didn’t ask for it and THAT is the real point of the Governor’s directives.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:25pm

Good call. It couldn't be that she is killing people with these shut down orders, violating people's Constitutional rights, destroying their hard earned wealth and and property, demeaning and dehumanizing them, and causing destruction to every aspect of Michigan's society for years to come. It must be sexiest, or racist, or chavinist, or machinist, or gumist, or purplist, or abominablyist, or virist, or something- only a word that ends in "ist" can explain the behavior of these people. They all must die, to save lives.

Ryan P
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 3:31pm

Ann, unfortunately we have Trump because a lot of white women refused to vote for Hillary Clinton. I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and for Obama both times he ran. So let's be clear, the white men ironically raising the confederate flags and demanding freedom do not represent most Americans of any gender or color. They are just a sorry lot of losers who represent maybe 20% of the population. Gerrymandering combined with no reason absentee voting will solve all these problems and keep the loonies out of power. Yes, we can! Hope is on the way! No one we know in the Detroit suburbs supports Trump, but we choose our friends carefully. Most family members who voted for Trump now regret it. Others have died from old age or COVID19. The demographics are not in Trump's favor. All that said, it's also THE ECONOMY! Trump sucks on so many levels. So we intend to vote blue no matter who, up and down the ballot! This year our twins will also be able to vote for the first time come November. Their generation really hates everything about Trump and our twins are young men. So the future is looking bright.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:08pm

Detroit newspapers are reporting - via Attorney General Dana Nessel - that Michigan LARA summarily suspended Karl Manke's barber license.

Once upon a time, when Michigan was only a budding police state, LARA still had to obtain an actual conviction on the underlying charges used to justify a license suspension before that suspension took effect. No longer.

Anyone still wonder why protesters would prominently display swastikas and nooses in images of our Governor?

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:23am

No, not at all, LOSER

Stop lying
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:24pm

Either masks WORK - so we go back to work wearing them.
Or they DON'T - which means I don't have to wear one.

One of you omnipotent libs please give me a straight answer that doesn't deflect or mention YOUR PRESIDENT. Yeah - thought so.

STOP me from working. STOP me from legally carrying a firearm. I dare you.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:23pm

Just zip it and wear your freakin mask, social distance, you lazy snowflake. The rest of us want to work.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 6:03pm

The SCIENCE is clear on this, and OVERWHELMING. If the Governor says you should wear a mask, wear one. If she says you shouldn't, don't. And if you disagree with her, you're racist and sexist. You Go Gurl!

learned well
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:51am

That's right, good job!

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:26am

Why can't we mention the president? He's the one who can't decide about masks and whether or not governors should be in charge or we should be liberated. So can it.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 6:13pm

I will not play around with other people’s lives because I want a haircut & a hot dog. Not wearing a mask doesn’t make you brave or a warrior — it just shows others that you are a scared gutless wonder who isn’t strong or smart enough to take true responsibility for your own actions including actions that may impact others. A leaked unreleased White House coronavirus task force report showing cases spiking in areas across the country has undercut President Donald Trump's claim that cases are declining across the nation. Stop using the pandemic closers as an excuse because your a Timothy McVay wanna be.

prove it
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:21am

OH - a "leaked document?" Sure....

You should probably stay home forever, then. That's OK. It's better that people like you with severe TDS stay out of the way of people trying to earn a living.

You certainly like to have it both ways: EVERYTHING is Trump's fault since he's not doing enough, but wait: Trump is doing too much so EVERYTHING is Trump's fault. You are the what is wrong with our country.

Tree Cutter
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 8:11pm

I’m glad to read the hate expressed by the governors supporters as they heap contempt and wish death on their fellow citizens. Please, keep it up. It’ll make the pending “divorce” of our society much more palatable and no need for the divorce to be an amiable one.

Ba bye
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:55am

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 2:12pm

I remember when the Bridge was a source of common sense and an outlet worth reading. Browse the comments of this article to see how low the readership has stooped. the Bridge was never non-partisan, it was just easier to get away with that label prior to 2016. I voted Whitmer because she seemed like a reasonable person, especially compared to Schutte. Whitmer was also really impressive when she announced her candidacy in Brighton, I was there. Whitmer has proven herself to be incompetent on a scale that most of us did not anticipate. Trump and his supporters have nothing to do with her inane policies. I live in the UP now and it's just ridiculous to see the heavy hand of Whitmer being applied State-wide, as if every place in the state is the equivalent of metro-Detroit. Those of you who are living in the Leftist bubble, come back to reality please, your friends and family miss you.

Richard M
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:02pm

If the governor didn't think the legislature needed to approve this, why did she ask for them to do so? Obviously, the law is ambiguous and only the course can decide it. If the courts find the order unlawful Michigan can expect to fact billions of dollars in lawsuits.