Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has garnered attention in recent weeks as she pursues one of the most aggressive COVID-19 lockdowns in the country.
Her administration just made headlines for a different reason, however, when the head of a group she picked to conduct door-to-door pandemic tracing allegedly scrubbed his social media footprint, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Democratic Party consultant Mike Kolehouse leads Great Lakes Community Engagement, which was awarded the contract before the state canceled it the following day, according to the Free Beacon.
He reportedly deleted his social media accounts afterward, along with a website for his company, K2K Consulting. Regulatory records show that Great Lakes Community Engagement is among the licensed assumed names for that consulting firm, the Free Beacon noted.
“I hope he gets coronavirus ASAP”
Kolehouse’s decision to lower his online profile comes after some controversial comments he made online came to light. In a tweet on March 27, he expressed a desire to see President Donald Trump contract COVID-19.
“I hope he gets coronavirus ASAP,” Kolehouse wrote, according to the Free Beacon. “Can someone do the country a favor and cough on that man[?]”
National GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called attention to Kolehouse’s comment in a tweet last week, noting his business relationship with the state.
“Gov. Whitmer awarded coronavirus response contracts to partisan Democrat operatives,” she wrote on April 21, adding that Kolehouse “received $500[,000] for work with the Michigan Democrat Party in 2018.”
Republicans want answers
According to the Free Beacon, the situation has raised eyebrows among Republican legislators, including Michigan state Rep. Shane Hernandez, who sent a letter demanding that Whitmer provide answers.
“If the governor thinks that canceling the contract means we’re not going to pursue the questions I asked, that’s not going to happen,” he said, according to the Free Beacon. “We deserve to know how this contract came about.”
Hernandez went on to recommend that fellow lawmakers “conduct oversight in the legislature to make sure there aren’t other contracts going out that are political in nature.”
In a related effort, Michigan state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) advanced bills last week that would limit Whitmer’s emergency powers, the Associated Press reported. The governor, for her part, has vowed to veto any such measure.
“Of course, I will veto bills that they send over to limit the executive power. I’ve been very clear about that from day one,” Whitmer told reporters Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner. “Those blatant power grabs are bad in good times and dangerous in times of crisis.”
But when it comes to power grabs, maybe Whitmer should take a look in the mirror.