While protests are threatened and carried out across various states, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will be watching for “Operation Gridlock” on Wednesday, organized by several social media groups, with plans to drive around the Lansing capitol and create a traffic jam.
One of those groups, the Michigan Freedom Fund, has ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her west Michigan family.
“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 on any governor, but obviously, on me here at home,” Whitmer said Monday, referring to Betsy DeVos, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. “I think that they should disavow and encourage people to stay home and be safe.”
The protest is featured on the Freedom Fund’s Facebook page and the organization is listed as one of the hosts. And while Betsy DeVos hasn’t contributed to candidates or political action committees since being a member of Trump’s cabinet, members of her family, including her husband Dick DeVos, a 2006 Republican candidate for governor, have continued to make many political contributions.
Executive director of the Freedom Fund said Whitmer’s statement is “categorically false.” The organization hasn’t contributed any money to the event and and is simply promoting the event in its social media postings.
Whitmer says that while she has no problem with people feeling frustrated and angry in a protest, she hopes that they stay in their cars.
“It’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to be angry and if you vent your anger at me, that’s okay too. I’ve got thick skin and I’m always going to defend your right to free speech,” she said during a press conference Monday. “I just ask that those who are protesting these orders do so in a safe manner so that you don’t get sick and you don’t subject our first responders to risk either.”