Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was mocked for a purported audio malfunction that allowed her to avoid answering a question from TV anchors about her COVID-19 lockdown measures.
“Governor, when it comes to your handling of the pandemic, we all know the critics over the past few years, do you have any regrets and…?” FOX 2 Detroit anchor Josh Landon asked Whitmer on Monday morning.
Whitmer, appearing remotely, interjects, “I’m sorry …” appearing to clasp at her earpiece. Someone off-camera with the governor is heard saying, “Oh, sh**, I think we lost…”
Landon says, “Go ahead, governor.” Whitmer does not respond as she glances at the camera and down again, holding her earpiece. “Did I do that when I touched the ear thing? It started to fall out,” she says.
“Oh no, it’s OK,” a female voice off-camera with Whitmer says.
Meanwhile, in the FOX 2 Detroit studio, Landon says, “Governor, can you hear me? Governor Whitmer?”
Whitmer stares blankly into the camera before the producers remove the shot from the screen. Landon says, “Alright, we’ll check back in with the governor maybe a little bit later on this morning.”
“Yeah, seems like she’s having some audio problems there,” co-anchor of FOX 2 News Mornings Amy Andrews adds while sitting next to Landon at the news desk.
Whitmer’s Republican challenger, Tudor Dixon, cast doubt on the apparent audio problem.
“We hope Gretchen Whitmer can get back on air to answer this question about her disastrous COVID policies (or will the equipment mysteriously malfunction again?):” Dixon tweeted, sharing the clip.
FOX 2 said Whitmer did not get back on the program that day.
The latest Cook Political Report released Oct. 28 projected the Michigan governor’s race as “leans Democrat” toward a win for Whitmer. According to the last Cygnal poll on Nov. 5, Whitmer shows a 4-point lead on the gubernatorial ballot that shrinks to three and a half points when leaners are pushed.
Republicans have heavily criticized Whitmer over her COVID-19 lockdown measures.
In October 2020, weeks before the presidential election, the FBI announced arrests in a purported thwarted plot to kidnap Whitmer over apparent outrage over shutting down the state.
But the federal trial was mired by allegations of FBI entrapment on the first go, and prosecutors failed to get a conviction the first time. Two men were found not guilty, while another two were ultimately convicted in the re-do federal trial in August. In October, another three were convicted on state charges in connection to the alleged plot.