Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) did not allow the Republican-controlled state legislature to stop her from taking action to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Whitmer issued three executive orders on Thursday to extend the emergency and disaster declaration set to expire at midnight on April 30. She also fired back at Republican lawmakers for refusing to extend the order.
“COVID-19 is an enemy that has taken the lives of more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam War,” Whitmer said in a statement.
She added, “While some members of the legislature might believe this crisis is over, common sense and all of the scientific data tells us we’re not out of the woods yet.”
“By refusing to extend the emergency and disaster declaration, Republican lawmakers are putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk. I’m not going to let that happen.”
Whitmer was met with harsh opposition as protesters stormed the Michigan state capitol on Thursday to demand they be allowed onto the House floor. Protesters are heard chanting “let us in” and “you cannot lock us out, this is the peoples’ house.”
Protest moves inside Michigan Capitol. Crowd attempts to get onto Hoise floor. Lots of Michigan State Police and House sergeants at arms blocking door. pic.twitter.com/4FNQpimP4W— Rod Meloni (@RodMeloni) April 30, 2020
State police and sergeants of the House prevented protesters from passing through the doors.
State Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-MI) tweeted a photo with a group of protesters holding rifles.
“Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today,” Polehanki wrote.
Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
Whitmer called on the legislature to put their differences aside and work with her to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.
“We’re all in this together. Defeating COVID-19 is an all hands on deck moment for our state, and I remain hopeful that Republicans in the legislature will stop the partisan games and start working with me to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly,” Whitmer said.
President Donald Trump called on Whitmer to negotiate with the residents of Michigan.
“The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry,” Trump tweeted on Friday.
He added, “They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.”
The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2020
As of Friday morning, there are more than 41,000 positive coronavirus cases and over 3,700 deaths in Michigan.