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Tale of Two Gretchens: Whitmer Campaign Repeats Job Growth Lie as Official Office Backtracks From It

Dem governor says she's created '25,000 auto jobs.' She's actually killed hundreds.

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer / Getty Images
• August 30, 2022 10:00 am

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In her official capacity, Michigan Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer has acknowledged that she hasn't actually created 25,000 auto jobs since taking office. Her reelection campaign apparently didn't get the memo.

Whitmer's campaign site says the Democrat "created nearly 25,000 auto jobs as part of the biggest manufacturing boom in years." But even Whitmer's official office has conceded that the claim isn't true. After a Washington Free Beacon report showed that Michigan has actually lost auto jobs on the Democrat's watch, Whitmer amended an official state government fact sheet to remove a section that touted "creating nearly 25,000 good-paying auto jobs." Whitmer's official Twitter account also deleted a June 30 tweet that included the false claim, and in an Aug. 1 press release, the governor noted that the 25,000 figure stems from "projected" jobs that have been "announced" but not actualized.

Whitmer's willingness to repeat the falsehood—even as her official office backtracks from it—comes as she faces a difficult reelection bid against Republican Tudor Dixon. The self-described "working mom on a mission" hammered Whitmer for "flat-out lying."

"The fact is: Michigan has LOST auto jobs as a result of Whitmer's disastrous policies, not gained them as she falsely claims," Dixon said Monday. "No wonder Whitmer is delaying public debates. She doesn't want to have to defend her lies and failed record."

Neither Whitmer's campaign nor her official office returned requests for comment.

Whitmer inherited 169,500 auto jobs when she took office in January 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number is now down to 167,800, according to the agency's July 2022 preliminary data, marking a decrease of 1,700 jobs. Whitmer nonetheless said she's "proud of the work we've done to secure investments in auto manufacturing" in an Aug. 6 tweet.

Beyond the auto industry, Whitmer has also failed to deliver on her coronavirus claims. In April 2020, the Democrat pledged to return a portion of her salary for the duration of the pandemic. She ended the pledge just five months later in September, even as her indoor gathering restrictions and public face mask requirements lasted for 15 months. 

In June 2020, meanwhile, Whitmer defied her own social distancing rule at a Detroit civil rights protest, which came just days after she expressed a "high level of concern" that large protests could expedite the spread of the virus. Roughly a year later, in May 2021, Whitmer again broke her own COVID rules during a dinner party at a Michigan State University bar.

Dixon won Michigan's Aug. 2 Republican gubernatorial primary by 18 points, while Whitmer ran unopposed in her party's nominating contest. The pair will face off in November.