Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer (D.) was spotted late Friday night without a mask in the standing-room only area of a popular Washington, D.C., cocktail bar, hours before she pulled out of an early-morning canvas for flailing Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
A video shared with the Washington Free Beacon shows Whitmer, who has repeatedly come under fire for breaking her own coronavirus restrictions, socializing in the crowded bar at the Hotel Washington. A hotel staffer who spoke with the Free Beacon noted that bar patrons are required to wear masks when not actively eating or drinking. Whitmer was not doing either while maskless. Several individuals standing near the governor were wearing masks.
Whitmer was scheduled to join Arlington Democrats on Saturday for a door-knocking campaign in Rosslyn, Virginia, to promote McAuliffe, who is facing Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin in a hotly contested race. Whitmer campaign communications director Maeve Coyle said a "schedule change" prevented the governor from attending McAuliffe's campaign event.
The Hotel Washington is located just blocks from the White House. Its bar, Vue, overlooks the National Mall and offers an array of pricey drinks. The menu's $24 specialty cocktail list includes the gin-based "Bi-Partisan," the "fruity" "President's Book of Secrets," and a blend of vodka and kombucha called the "Yes We Can."
Whitmer last year landed in the national spotlight after she implemented stringent coronavirus regulations. The governor banned hardware stores from selling plants and paint and prohibited the use of some motorized boats. That ban did not stop the governor's husband from attempting to leverage his status as the state's first gentleman to launch his yacht in time for Memorial Day 2020.
Like her husband, Whitmer earned a reputation for violating her own mandates. Whitmer apologized earlier this year when she was caught maskless at a restaurant in Michigan with a dozen other guests. And in March, the governor flew on a private plane to Florida after telling constituents to forgo spring break travel.
Whitmer also faced criticism this weekend for traveling hundreds of miles to boost Democratic colleagues as she faced yet another water crisis back home in Michigan. Her office did not respond to multiple requests for comment in time for publication.