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Whitmer criticizes 'anti-maskers' in the Michigan Legislature

During a press briefing, the governor criticized 'anti-maskers' in the legislature, including the Senate Majority Leader.
Credit: AP
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a campaign stop for Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., at the Detroit Pistons practice facility in Detroit, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. — During a Tuesday afternoon press briefing about the Michigan election, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the moment to comment on Friday's Supreme Court ruling, which put dozens of COVID-10 mandates in jeopardy. 

Her biggest focus: "We are going to have to mask up. And that remains the law in Michigan under the director's epidemic orders." 

After the court ruled a 1945 law that the governor relied on to declare a state of emergency and implement broad executive orders was unconstitutional, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reinstates some of the main COVID-19 mandates under an emergency order. 

During the press briefing, Whitmer continued to focus on the importance of wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 and called out part of the Michigan Legislature for having members who are "anti-maskers." 

RELATED: Whitmer: Court ruling doesn't stop threat of COVID-19

The remark came after Whitmer was asked how she foresees future negotiations with Republicans in the Legislature when it comes to responded to the pandemic. 

“We already know that there are a lot of anti-maskers in the Legislature, who also have come down with COVID, by the way, going to events where they are protesting masks,” Whitmer said. “It’s the saddest irony and none of us take joy in that. I want fewer people to get COVID and that’s really what has informed every decision that we’ve made.”

On Sept. 29, State Rep. Beau LaFave, a 28-year-old Republican from an Upper Peninsula district, announced he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Last week, it was released that President Donald Trump has also been diagnosed.

After the Supreme Court issued its ruling Friday, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a critic of Whitmer's emergency powers, said he would not back a statewide mask mandate. 

"I think it is concerning that the top Republican in the Michigan government is an anti-masker and doesn't want to encourage and require everyone across the state to mask up," Whitmer said, before noting this was hours after President Donald Trump was moved to Walter Reed Military hospital to be treated for COVID-19. 

The governor said Shirkey's comments show a "disdain for science and ignorance of the epidemiology we are up against."

RELATED: Upper Peninsula state representative tests positive for COVID-19

Prior to the press briefing Shirkey tweeted that the Legislature is willing to work with the governor to pass bipartisan legislation. 

"The Legislature has proven time and again that we're ready to do the hard work necessary to reach agreement. But her actions this week prove she'd much prefer to govern alone," he said in his own rebuke of the governor. 

Watch the full briefing here: 

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