Michigan governor: Trump's messaging causes 'greater danger'

In this photo, provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state in Lansing, Mich., Monday, April 20, 2020. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)
In this photo, provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state in Lansing, Mich., Monday, April 20, 2020. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that President Donald Trump's plan to suspend immigration is distracting from efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and part of “inconsistent messages” that spread fear and put the public in “greater danger.”

Trump's pronouncements about freezing immigration are “scary” for immigrants, family members hoping to immigrate to the U.S., farmers who rely on seasonal migrant workers and Canadian nurses who work in Michigan, the Democratic governor said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"These broad statements that come out I think are are so problematic and counter to I think what we need right now more than anything — which is fact based scientifically proven, best practices and an optimistic vision of where we are headed and the thrust to make it a reality,” said Whitmer, who said the focus should be on making swabs for testing. “This is what we need right now — not additional new things to be upset about, fearful of or mad about."

She said she worries Trump’s daily televised briefings only make things worse.

“I think that the nightly briefing has yielded a lot of inconsistent messages to the public — messages that put people in greater danger,” she said.

The first-term governor's comments were the latest in a series of criticisms she has directed at the president and his handling of the virus outbreak. Her high-profile disputes with Trump have put her at the center of the states' fight with the federal government over equipment and testing — and helped raise her political profile.

Whitmer, who is believed to a vice presidential contender, told AP she has not been asked by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to participate in any vetting for the role.

“Of course I would give whatever they’ve asked for,” she said. “But I’m not auditioning for any different job than the one that I have right now.”