Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer will receive an award for “COVID courage,” the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced.
Whitmer will receive the award for her response to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization announced on Tuesday.
“Last summer, thousands of people across the country submitted COVID Courage nominations, sharing stories about members of their communities who put their health at risk to work on the frontlines,” the foundation explained.
In the face of backlash and threats, @GovWhitmer invoked emergency powers to contain the spread of the virus, issuing early, controversial orders to close schools and businesses, mandate mask wearing, and ban large gatherings, among other measures to keep people safe. pic.twitter.com/lTfcx7i5hQ
— JFK Library (@JFKLibrary) May 4, 2021
The honor comes as Whitmer’s state experienced a surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths in April. Michigan saw hospitalizations increase by 112%, deaths by 115% and cases by 60% at the beginning of the month.
Whitmer’s response to the pandemic has also been widely criticized by her political opponents and the strict lockdowns she imposed have received a mixed response from her constituents, with a recent report finding that the approval rating for her handling of coronavirus has plummeted 17% over eight months in her state.
The Michigan Supreme Court also ruled back in October that her pandemic executive orders were unconstitutional, leading the legislature to revoke her emergency powers entirely.
The governor has also come under fire for her May executive order allowing nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients from hospitals even if they were still contagious with the virus, leading to GOP lawmakers in the state legislature to demand investigations.
Whitmer’s administration has also been criticized after it was revealed that her Chief Operating Officer and the state’s Health and Human Services Director both took vacations to Florida and Alabama respectively while the governor was still advising her constituents to avoid travel. (RELATED: Mitt Romney Receives JFK ‘Profile In Courage’ Award For Voting To Impeach Donald Trump)
Reports also surfaced that Whitmer herself traveled out of state to visit her sick father though her office has refused to confirm or deny such claims.
Whitmer will be one of seven to receive the award, which will be presented by JFK’s only surviving daughter, Caroline Kennedy, and her son, Jack Schlossberg at a virtual ceremony on May 26.