Michigan governor slams Betsy DeVos for her ties to a far-right anti-lockdown protest group

Michigan governor slams Betsy DeVos for her ties to a far-right anti-lockdown protest group
"Betsy DeVos" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Although the majority of Americans still support social distancing measures — 83% of Democrats, 72% of independents and 62% of Republicans, according to an Axios/Ipsos poll released this week — a minority of far-right extremists have been holding rallies, protests and rallies in opposition to shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. And in Lansing, Michigan, where one of those protests was held, some of the “organizational assistance” — according to Daily Beast reporter Scott Bixby — came from a “dark money group with close ties with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.”


Reckless and dangerous behavior, Bixby reports, was not hard to find at the Michigan protest — for example, protestors “snarling local ambulances in traffic and handing out candy to children with ungloved hands.” And Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is calling for DeVos (who is the sister of Blackwater mercenary Erik Prince) to condemn that type of recklessness.

At a press briefing, Whitmer told reporters, “This group is funded in large part by the DeVos family. And I think it’s really inappropriate for a sitting member of the United States president’s cabinet to be waging political attacks on any governor.”

Like many other Democratic governors — including New York’s Andrew Cuomo, California’s Gavin Newsom, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf and New Jersey’s Phil Murphy — Whitmer hasn’t been shy about promoting aggressive social distancing in her state. Whitmer’s position is clear: social distancing is necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19. But she has encountered some angry opposition from far-right extremists. And an anti-Whitmer protest in Lansing, Michigan (the state capital) was called Operation: Gridlock because, as Bixby reports, it was designed to cause an “intentional traffic jam” — which, of course, is the last thing that ambulances need during a pandemic.

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