LANSING — Republican lawmakers in Lansing are gathering to do what they always do: attack Governor Whitmer because pursuing cheap political games is easier than operating in the best interest of Michiganders in the midst of a pandemic.

Today’s ringleader is House Oversight Committee Chair Steve Johnson, who has decided that now — after over 8 million vaccines have been administered statewide — is the time to finally start caring about COVID-19 protocols. This is the same Republican state representative that willingly invited known conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf to testify against vaccines during a hearing in this same committee not even three weeks ago. 

She used her time as a distinguished witness of Johnson’s Oversight Committee to allege that “vaccine applications on cellphones are tracking people” and likened pandemic-combating strategies to “population separation efforts in Nazi Germany.”

Surprisingly, that’s not the most recent major display of vaccine disinformation to come out of Republican leaders this month. Just this week, Senate Majority Leader and militia kidnapper apologist Mike Shirkey continued his anti-vaxx crusade, this time tweeting the lie that he had “developed natural immunity” to COVID-19 and therefore doesn’t need to get vaccinated. 

And earlier this year, several Republicans including Shirkey engaged in frivolous travel. In April 2021, Shirkey travelled to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a spring break vacation with his extended family. Due to a Facebook post from his wife, he was also caught traveling to Florida the weekend of May 8th. State House Speaker Jason Wentworth, who won’t confirm whether he’s vaccinated, was in Florida in April. GOP House Rep. Matt Maddock and MI GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock also travelled to San Antonio, Texas in April 2021. The funding for both the travel and lodging of any of these trips hasn’t been disclosed by anyone listed.

“Michigan Republicans just can’t seem to stop throwing stones from their glass vacation houses. Rep. Johnson’s inquisition is just the latest example of these partisan attacks against Governor Whitmer. However, today’s pursuit is dripping with more hypocrisy than normal considering his committee’s hosting of an anti-vaxx conspiracy theorist earlier this month,” said Rodericka Applewhaite, MDP spokesperson. “Throughout this pandemic, Republican leaders like Steve Johnson and Mike Shirkey have rejected life-saving measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, refused to move quickly to allocate federal funds to increase the distribution of vaccines and empower local health departments, and now are actively encouraging others to avoid getting vaccinated. Any one of these proof points alone is enough to make criticisms on leadership from Republicans on this issue ring hollow and Michiganders aren’t going to fall for it.”

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