GOP State Senate Leader Under Fire From Both Sides
It is getting harder for Republican Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to find any media reports about him that could be considered flattering. It’s quite the contrary. And it’s building. There’s been a general grumbling among conservatives in Michigan that Shirkey didn’t do enough to stand up to Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her unilateral approach to COVID-19 virus controls and restrictions.
The Hillsdale County Republican Party this month censured the senator for just that complaint. And some others. The local party listed nearly a dozen points of contention with the Shirkey, not the least of which includes, “refusal to hold Governor Gretchen Whitmer accountable for boldly disobeying a Michigan Supreme Court decision.” About a week ago, Shirkey met with several local party leaders. He didn’t know one was recording the conversation. He clearly challenged many views about the takeover of the US capitol last month. He later apologized for his comments.
The Associated Press reports Michigan Democratic Lt. Governor Garlin Gilcrhist had words with Shirkey inside the State Senate chambers. The conversation was captured on the Senate video feed. The Majority Leader seemed to take back his earlier apology, telling the Lt. Governor he had not changed his view, he just used the wrong words to explain his position on the capitol takeover.
That exchange is leading to a tersely worded announcement from the Lt. Governor. Gilchrist is accusing Shirkey of everything from using sexist language, to openly supporting militia groups that threatened to kidnap the Governor. Gilchrist says the Senator is, “...shirking his responsibility to face the crisis at hand, instead doubling down his focus on attacking Governor Whitmer — literally threatening her to a fistfight on the Capitol lawn — and emboldening violent extremists.” The Lt. Governor says Senator Shirley’s earlier apology in light of what is evident, carries little weight.