'Don't be a stranger,' Florida Republican taunts Whitmer with 24 travel booklets

April 27, 2021, 8:48 AM by  Alan Stamm

A nasty smirk is easily visualized when reading a four-paragraph letter mailed Monday to Michigan's governor by an elected Florida Republican, who posts it online before delivery in Lansing.

"See you again soon," taunts Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, noting that Gretchen Whitmer and her chief operations officer visited his state separately this year. He encloses two dozen brochures from tourist attractions "to help plan your next visit."   

Whitmer visited her ailing father for two days last month and appointee Tricia Foster vacationed with her family in Siesta Key south of Tampa early this month.

Those trips provoked political backlash at home from Republicans, who accuse the Democrat of violating her pandemic guidance to avoid travel. "The issue ... is the gross hypocrisy that comes from this administration," said Rep. Steve Johnson of Wayland in Allegan County.

The governor, who got her first Covid vaccine this month after the trip, last week called the criticism "maddening" in a Washington Post Live interview. "I wasn't out partying in Miami. It's a very different situation than what they're portraying," she told opinion writer Jonathan Capehart. 

"It was certainly not spring break. I was doing both my job as governor from a distance and being that of a daughter who was helping out a parent who needed a little help."

In the new reaction, insincerity seems to drip from Patronis' letter like juice from a ripe orange:

"As both you and your COO now know from personal experience, Florida is safe for travel. ... No doubt many of your fellow Michiganders traveled to the Sunshine State this year. ...

"Now that you and your COO have personally experienced what the Sunshine State has to offer, I encourage you to share your experiences publicly. More importantly, however, don't be a stranger!"  

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