Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) health director, Elizabeth Hertel, was the second senior administration official to travel out of state for spring break last week.
Hertel (pictured), who heads the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), traveled with her family to Gulf Shores, Alabama, but according to MIRS News, she “was regularly updated on Michigan’s growing COVID-19 case numbers and was available to issue any new public health orders, if necessary.”
MIRS said Hertel would have legally been able to issue orders while not in the state, apparently even from the beach on the Gulf of Mexico.
MDHHS spokesman Bob Wheaton told the publication “the department does not discuss the Director’s personal schedule.”
On April 2, just days before spring break for many students, Whitmer told the media, “Here’s what I know: The Number 1 state with the most variants is Florida and the Number 2 state is Michigan right now.”
She acknowledged there is “a lot of travel back and forth between the states” at this time of year.
“Yes, I am concerned, and I think it’s a concern no matter what,” she said of travel between states.
Whitmer’s office refused to tell Breitbart News if the governor was proud of her top appointees ignoring her recommendation for Michigan residents not to travel for spring break, nor whether the actions by Hertel and Tricia Foster, Whitmer’s Chief Operating Officer, should be interpreted by Michiganders as a signal that Whitmer’s suggestions should not be taken seriously.
Foster was caught by Breitbart News last Friday after the COO posted photos and comments on her Facebook page about her travels to warmer environs.
One friend commented that she thought she saw the senior Michigan government official on the beach in Siesta Key:
“I swear I saw you walking today,” the person said on a purported Foster Facebook post containing several beach photos from earlier this week.
“Likely,” Foster responded.
When asked where one of her absent family members was — apparently her son — Foster responded, “home with covid [coronavirus].”
She added, “Missing his [senior] trip to the Bahamas so planned girls plan b 24 hours before flight.”
When Breitbart News inquired about Foster’s travel, Whitmer’s office did not respond.
Press Secretary Bobby Leddy later falsely smeared Breitbart News as a “garbage white nationalist website,” but did not dispute the facts in the story.
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays–download full podcast episodes. Follow him on Parler.
Alabama’s Secretary of State, John Merrill, says he will not run for the United States Senate after admitting he had “an inappropriate relationship with a 44-year-old woman.”
John Merrill said in a statement he would not be seeking any elected position in 2022. Merrill had intended a much-anticipated run for the Senate. He even retweeted someone touting former President Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) instead of waiting for others to announce.
I will obviously not be a candidate for the United States Senate nor will I be seeking any other elected position in 2022, because I think it’s important to me to make sure that.
I become the man that I have been before and that I am working to put myself in the position to be the leader that I have been before, as a husband, as a father, as a friend and as an elected official.
During an interview with AL Wednesday morning, Merrill at first denied the affair accusations against him, saying the accuser, Cesaire McPherson, was “stalking” and “harassing” him.
Reportedly, McPherson told AL she did not want to answer any questions regarding this on the record. “I don’t want to say anything other than here’s the proof that John Merrill is a liar,” She told AL. McPherson provided the publication with a 17-minute recording from October 2020 of a conversation between herself and Merrill. “Here’s the true John Merrill,” she said.
In the recording, Merrill and McPherson discuss the various “sexual acts” they had done over “dozens of romantic encounters.” McPherson said they took place between November 2017 and November 2020. Merrill told AL, “‘there’s no excuse’ for his extramarital relationship,” after hearing part of the tapes. He said:
It’s clear that I had an inappropriate relationship with her, and it is not something that I am proud of or something that is something that — I’m very disappointed in myself. I’m also disappointed that I allowed my family to be embarrassed by this action, and it’s something that I certainly will always regret because of the pain that it has caused my family.
The original allegations were first made public in the National File on Tuesday, who released an audio file.
AL released parts of the transcript:
Early in the call, McPherson asks Merrill, “the last time that we had sex, that’s the last time ever?” Merrill responded, “well, it was a pretty good day.” McPherson asks again if “that’s the last time ever” and Merrill says “it’s supposedly the last time ever.
McPherson goes on to ask Merrill in explicit detail about sex acts she says they engaged in on multiple occasions and about specific locations.
He told her later in the call he hoped to draw strength from God to resist continuing their affair.
“I am not able to stay away from you, so that’s the reason why I have to have help in order to do that … the help is coming from the Lord,” he said.
“You already went against your marriage … So you’ve already done it, you can’t take that back, you can’t change it,” McPherson said.
“Can’t take anything back. Can’t change anything. All I can do is what I can do from today forward,” Merrill responded.
According to AL, after Merrill listened to parts of the recordings on Wednesday, he “reflected on what it had cost him and those around him.”
“I hope someone can use me as an example of how they have the opportunity to accomplish things, but because of poor choices and poor decisions in things, it can result in a negative impact for a lot of people that you did not intend to impact,” Merrill said. “That’s because I exercised poor choices and poor discipline. Maybe some good can come out of this for somebody else.”
“After medical help responded, the officers found out the man and his wife were traveling on the interstate when he started having chest pains and passed out,” the post read, adding he was talking when flown from the scene.
Officer McWhorter, a former Army medic, used those skills again the next day when a man driving himself to the hospital flagged him down and said he was experiencing a heart attack.
“McWhorter has a lot of experience and utilizes those medic skills,” Captain Anthony Pressnell explained. “He did not have to perform CPR this time, but he did call an ambulance, check the man’s pulse and monitor his condition until the ambulance arrived.”
The man’s wife later sent a note to the mayor’s office to thank McWhorter, even though she did not know his name at the time.
“The officer’s quick thinking getting him help saved his life,” the woman wrote. “My husband went straight into surgery when he reached Huntsville Hospital. Thank you so very much.”
Once she learned his name and about the incident the day before, the wife stated, “We are so grateful. Sounds like there is more than one hero in Athens.”
Pressnell said he was happy she reached out to give them an update.
“We don’t always know the outcome once a person goes on to the hospital. It’s nice to hear a good outcome,” he commented.
Facebook users praised the two policemen and thanked them for their service.
“Great Americans! God Bless!” one person commented.
“I’m very proud of these officers and glad they represent our city,” another wrote.
Alabama will become one of the next states to eliminate a government-imposed mandate that requires people wear masks in public, sources close to the matter told Breitbart News.
A source familiar with state deliberations confirmed that as soon as Friday but definitely in the coming days. Alabama will join several other states nationwide in removing its mandate requiring masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
GOP Gov. Kay Ivey’s office has not yet confirmed what sources familiar with the state’s planning and deliberations are, but a spokeswoman for Ivey told Breitbart News she was never a fan of mandates to begin with—a sign of the coming move.
“All along, Governor Ivey has made clear that she prefers personal responsibility to government mandates. We are optimistic that our state is heading in the right direction, and we still have some work to be done. Governor Ivey will provide an update to the people of Alabama soon,” an Ivey spokeswoman said.
The governor’s spokeswoman would not deny that she intends to lift the mask mandate on Friday, when the order is set to expire–but would not confirm the news either.
While this statement does not confirm outright what Ivey has planned—again, sources familiar with the deliberations confirmed to Breitbart News that she is planning to scrap the mask mandate—this development is significant as it comes on the heels of several other states ditching their own mask mandates.
Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth also released a statement on Wednesday urging Ivey to ditch the mask mandate once and for all:
I urge Gov. Kay Ivey to immediately lift the statewide mask mandate and allow citizens and local officials the liberty to make the decisions that best fit their circumstances.
Ivey could always back down ahead of the forthcoming announcement, and if she does it will be seen as cowering to democrats like President Joe Biden in Washington without following scientific advice and the leadership of other GOP-led states. Alabama Democrats are pressuring Ivey to cave to Biden and keep the mandate:
Today AL reaches the grim milestone of 10,000 deaths from COVID-19– now is not the time to let our guard down.
This week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves—both Republicans—announced they are lifting their states’ mask mandates. They join 14 other states—Florida, South Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee—in not having mask mandates.
These red states’ decisions to ditch previously implemented mask mandates are a rebuke of Democrat President Joe Biden’s push to try to get Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office. Biden is not even through half of his first 100 days and already losing the confidence of a growing number of U.S. states rejecting his advice and guidance.
In response to the announcements from Texas and Mississippi, Biden lashed out at the White House on Wednesday falsely calling the people in those states subhuman.
“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it,” Biden said about Abbott’s and Reeves’s moves.
One of the sources familiar with Alabama’s forthcoming decision told Breitbart News that Biden attacking the people of Texas and Mississippi is playing a huge role in Alabama’s move to nuke the mask mandate. In other words, this person said, Biden’s attacks on American citizens are backfiring as more and more responsible government leaders across the country reject his authority and are moving away from his recommendations as he shows disdain for Americans from states that did not vote for him for president.
“Joe Biden has fewer functioning brain cells than a Neanderthal and continues to listen to clowns like Fauci, who’s been wrong at every turn, but he’s got the nerve to criticize states who abandon mandates that aren’t supported by science? Screw him,” one source familiar with the forthcoming order changes in Alabama told Breitbart News.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said “every state in the union,” should eliminate the private donor funding of election administration in an exclusive interview on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday with host Matt Boyle.
“We had states that sacrificed security, accountability, transparency for accessibility and availability of the ballot. We should never sacrifice security, transparency, and accountability in the elections process for anything,” Merrill, co-chair of the recently established election integrity commission of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) said.
Boyle noted the 2020 general election was unique in that, for the first time, major private donors — such as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, who donated $350 million to the Center for Technology and Civic Live (CTCL) and $69 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) this election cycle — funded the administration of elections in many counties and localities around the country.
“It seems very wrong to me that a private oligarch, a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg, or any other billionaire, I don’t care what their politics are, they could be the Koch Brothers… I just don’t think that they should be funding election offices. That’s a function of our government of our states… I know that there’s a proposal in Georgia that they’re considering to make it illegal for local election offices to accept such money. It seems like that’s a common sense thing. Elections should be run by our governments at the state level, and local level, not funded by whatever… special interest donors exist out there,” Boyle said.
“You are correct. One of the things that we are doing in our state because we did not have anything on the books, we had no statutory language in Alabama that eliminated that [private funding of the administration of elections at the county and local level] as a practice in electioneering,” Merrill responded.
“We’re going to be having our legislature, our House and Senate, consider legislation just like they’re doing in Georgia. We think every state in the union should do the same thing. That is not an acceptable practice. To have a third party group, regardless of their political philosophy, come in and try to encourage people (a) to participate in the process, but (b), even more than that, demonstrate their bent towards a political philosophy of one party or the other in regard to this. You are correct, and that is one of the things we’re giving attention to,” Merrill said.
Merrill also explained that, during the 2020 general elections, some states made sure every jurisdiction followed state election laws, while other states did not.
“In Alabama we have laws in force, in place, and adhered to in all 67 counties. It’s the same thing in the 67 counties in Florida. Florida learned that the hard way in Bush v. Gore 2000,” Merrill said.
In contrast, Merrill noted, “In the 15 counties in Arizona, the 16 counties in Nevada, the 67 counties in California, the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, the 46 counties in South Carolina, and as everybody knows, the 159 counties in Georgia, they are not following their own laws in their own local jurisdictions.”
“We believe that each state should be responsible for their own elections. We don’t have national elections. We have 50 state elections for a national office when it comes to the presidency. But we know that each state should follow their own laws in each jurisdiction in their state. That’s what we’re promoting. That’s what we’re doing by introducing these best practices across the union,” Merrill said of the work of the RSLC election integrity commission he co-chairs along with Michigan state Sen. Ruth Johnson (R). “We’ve never seen this before, and I think it clearly had a demonstrable impact on the results of the election,” Boyle said of the private funding of the administration of elections in many counties and local jurisdictions around the country.
“They picked and choosed [sic] where they sent the money… They sent the vast majority to inner cities. It clearly juiced up turnout in a lot of these places. One could argue, if you look at the areas where Zuckerberg sent this money, through the various non-profits that he set up, that altered the outcome of the election,” Boyle noted.
“One could argue that because that’s exactly what happened,” Merrill said.
“They offered the money, as far as I know, to every state in the union,” Merrill said of the Zuckerberg-funded organizations.
“We [at the state level in Alabama] declined receipt of the resources. We told them we did not want the money,” Merrill added, noting that eight counties in Alabama — including Jefferson County, in which the city of Birmingham is located, did accept money from a Zuckerberg-funded organization.
“What you saw across the union, when those states accepted it [the Zuckerberg-funded private donations from CTCL and CEIR], in Pennsylvania, there was a heavy concentration in Pittsburgh; there was a heavy concentration in Philadelphia, but out in Scranton, out in Harrisburg… and other parts of the state where you don’t have a concentration of a majority minority area, you don’t see an investment of those resources there,” the Alabama Secretary of State noted.
“It was designed to get the vote out to more heavily influence the results in that particular state for Democratic candidates at the local, at the federal, and obviously at the presidential level,” Merrill concluded in his response to Boyle’s question.
Against all predictions by the media, universities, athletic directors, and others that COVID-19 required a fully canceled football season, the College Football Playoff National Championship is here.
Instead of moping in university housing or locker rooms before the beginning of a new semester, two of the nation’s supposedly best teams, Alabama and the Ohio State University, will face off Monday evening in Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, to play in front of approximately 16,000 fans.
While some people, including this CBS Sports columnist, predicted that playing college football would result in the deaths of innocent people for the sake of sports entertainment, the Southeast Conference played 69 out of 71 possible games, with fans present and “zero significant COVID-19 related issues.”
The corporate media is still clinging to narratives questioning whether the pandemic season was worth it, but the gameplay prevailed thanks to the work of many people who advocated against the mainstream narrative and pointed to the science and reality of the situation. There is no denying that this season of college football, which was once threatened by COVID-19, returned for the 2020 season due to the activism by Power Five conference athletes and their allies.
If not for players such as star quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence from Clemson University and Justin Fields from Ohio State, who came out against the cancellation of their college football seasons and claimed “there is a way forward,” none of them would have even set a cleat on the field this season.
It was through a simple hashtag, #WeWantToPlay, and Lawrence’s impassioned Twitter thread explaining that players would be safer from COVID-19 under the watch of their universities that the young men effectively communicated their eagerness to play this season. These well-reasoned calls to action did not fall on deaf ears. In addition to receiving support from college football fans around the United States, the teams also gained the attention of sports media personality Clay Travis, who used his site “Outkick” and Twitter account to lobby for conferences to play.
“College athletes have been hugely impactful with their #WeWantToPlay hashtag, but now movement needs to include college coaches & political figures,” Travis wrote in August. “The athletes have made their voices heard. Now they need more powerful allies to fight the coup being led by Big Ten presidents.”
College athletes have been hugely impactful with their #WeWantToPlay hashtag, but now movement needs to include college coaches & political figures. The athletes have made their voices heard. Now they need more powerful allies to fight the coup being led by Big Ten presidents.
It was because Travis amplified the message that the cause caught the attention of President Donald Trump and other politicians, such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who quickly jumped to endorse the #WeWantToPlay movement.
Travis also kept a close record of athletic directors and others who expressed support for the players’ campaign to move forward with a safe season, holding the “coronabro” media accountable for their audacious and false COVID-19 sports predictions and doubts that games could proceed.
Many college football players, aware their season is under threat, are Tweeting this hashtag: #WeWanttoPlay Will coronabro media cover this as aggressively as they do a positive asymptomatic test?
The coronabros in the sports media told you a college football season was impossible. Just when it seemed the coronabros might win Trevor Lawrence & Justin Fields fought back with #wewanttoplay. Huge props to both. We’re here tonight in a large measure because of their voices
While there were inevitable administrative hiccups, prolonged quarantines, false and true positive COVID-19 tests, and some canceled games, the season is on the brink of ending on a successful note, with multiple bowl games and another national champion in the rearview mirror.
Although some universities and conferences such as the Big 10 had to tuck their tails and reverse their decisions, playing the 2020 season after initially saying it would be canceled, they ultimately made the right decision. Many skilled players are headed to the NFL draft following their performances this season. Additionally, coaches and their athletic programs have learned to adapt and move forward with new, flexible gameplay, and the American people got their Saturday entertainment back. Despite the naysayers, the fearful, and the pesky media, truth prevailed, and the games went on.
Whether it’s the Buckeyes or the Crimson Tide who claim victory at tonight’s game, everyone wins because college football never had to leave.
An anonymous donor is matching Salvation Army donations in Alabama through the organization’s Red Kettle Campaign.
The donor had agreed to match all red kettle donations made in the Shoals section of Alabama, including Franklin, Lauderdale, and Colbert Counties, WAFF reported.
The Red Kettle Campaign is one of the Salvation Army’s biggest fundraisers of the year. However, potential donors will not see as many red kettles as usual as the campaign has gone virtual due to the pandemic, according to the Salvation Army website.
Money that is raised through the Red Kettle Campaign goes toward many of the Salvation Army’s programs, such as feeding the homeless, providing financial assistance, and helping with the upkeep of the Center of Hope Shelter.
“I know there are a lot of people out shopping today, but make a special trip tomorrow. If you have been waiting to give, come out tomorrow and give, because tomorrow your dollars are going to double. Whatever you give is going to be matched, so help us rescue Christmas,” said Salvation Army worker Benjamin Deuel.
Those in the Shoals area can find Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringers at 26 locations.
Potential donors can also donate all season by visiting the Salvation Army website.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 on Wednesday to grant a stay against “curbside” voting in Alabama, which would have allowed disabled Americans to avoid the additional risk of exposure to coronavirus posed by voting inside a polling place.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the conservative majority, in contrast to another Supreme Court decision earlier this week, in which he sided with the liberal minority to uphold relaxed vote-by-mail rules and deadlines in Pennsylvania.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer dissented. Sotomayor wrote:
This stay application arises from the Alabama secretary of state’s decision to ban curbside voting despite the ongoing COVID–19 crisis and the willingness of certain Alabama counties to assist voters with disabilities. Following a lengthy trial and resting on an extensive record, the District Court found, among other things, that the secretary’s ban violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by forcing voters with disabilities, for whom COVID–19 is disproportionately likely to be fatal, to risk unnecessary exposure to the virus if they wish to vote in person. The District Court enjoined the secretary’s ban, thus allowing counties that are ready to adopt curbside voting to do so. I would not upset the District Court’s record-based, reasoned, and narrowly tailored judgment, which the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit let stand.
To combat the spread of COVID–19, the Centers for Dis- ease Control and Prevention recommend that States con- sider curbside voting, that is, permit voters to vote from their car by handing their ballot to a poll worker.
The secretary does not meaningfully dispute that the plaintiffs have disabilities, that COVID–19 is disproportionately likely to be fatal to these plaintiffs, and that traditional in-person voting will meaningfully increase their risk of exposure. He argues only that the relevant “benefit” under the ADA is voting generally, not in-person voting specifically, and that absentee voting ensures access to that benefit.
The case is known as Merill v. People of Alabama.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.