Michigan Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer says she's added 25,000 "good-paying auto jobs" during her tenure. The state has actually lost thousands of auto jobs on her watch, labor statistics show.
In a June 2 press release, Whitmer said she was "proud" to announce Michigan has "added nearly 25,000 auto jobs since I took office." The Democrat roughly three weeks later repeated the claim, writing in a "mobility and electrification" fact sheet that she "is ensuring Michigan lives up to its legacy as the place that put the world on wheels by creating nearly 25,000 good-paying auto jobs."
Bureau of Labor Statistics data, however, contradict that claim. Whitmer inherited 169,500 auto jobs when she became governor in January 2019, according to the agency. As of May 2022, that number is 166,700—a decrease of nearly 3,000 jobs.
Whitmer's deceptive declaration shows how the Democrat is attempting to rebound on economic issues following her stringent stay-at-home orders, which shuttered local stores but deemed marijuana dispensaries, lottery ticket vendors, and big-box retailers "essential." While Whitmer has touted leading the "best economic recovery in Michigan history," a June WalletHub report ranked Michigan 46th in unemployment claim recovery.
Michigan Rising Action communications director Mary Drabik said Whitmer's "gaslighting" on auto jobs is "not surprising."
"When Gov. Whitmer's claims are this far detached from reality, it becomes difficult to believe anything she says," Drabik told the Washington Free Beacon. "But coming from the governor who claims her nursing-home policies saved lives and vacationed in Florida while telling Michiganders to avoid flying south, the gaslighting is not surprising."
Whitmer's office acknowledged that the governor's claim stems from "the number of jobs announced since January 2019," some of which are not yet actualized. Still, Whitmer communications director Bobby Leddy said the governor "is proud of her record of job creation, particularly in the auto industry, as we move to cement Michigan's legacy of manufacturing." Leddy did not address why Whitmer's statistic does not account for jobs that have left the state since 2019.
This is far from the first time Whitmer has faced criticism for failing to deliver on a claim. In April 2020, the Democrat pledged to give back a portion of her salary for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. But Whitmer ended the pledge just five months later in September, even as her indoor gathering restrictions and public face mask requirements lasted for 15 months.
Whitmer, who implemented a policy that required nursing homes to accept positive coronavirus patients who were discharged from hospitals, is up for reelection in November after a roller coaster of a first term. Whitmer's national profile exploded during the beginning of the pandemic thanks to her harsh restrictions and public feud with then-president Donald Trump. Whitmer went on to ramp up those restrictions, which sparked large protests, particularly as the Democrat defied her own rules.
Whitmer's potential Republican opponents include political commentator Tudor Dixon, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, and businessman Kevin Rinke. Republican voters will choose their nominee during Michigan's August 2 primary.