Whitmer says she censors herself speaking about Trump to get federal aid

The Detroit News

So what's it like to have the president of the United States lobbing criticism at you as the governor of Michigan?

According to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, it means you watch your words. When asked by Axios' Alexi McCammond if she had to censor herself in order to receive federal aid, Whitmer replied with a quick "yes!"

Federal aid for the pandemic, federal aid for Midland flooding, it's easier when you make nice with the president. 

"Listen, the worst night's sleep that I've got in the last 10 weeks is when he's attacked me on Twitter," she told McCammond. 

The #AxiosOnHBO interview airs at 11 p.m. Monday on HBO.

She isn't the only one who has drawn Trump's ire. Whitmer's comments follow retorts to the president by her attorney general.

On Thursday, Attorney General Dana Nessel shot back at Trump on Twitter when he took aim at her after she insisted he wear a mask during a tour of the Ford Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti in an open letter, and then commented about Ford not making him wear one.

"Do nothing A.G. of the Great State of Michigan, Dana Nessel, should not be taking her anger and stupidity out on Ford Motor - they might get upset with you and leave the state, like so many other companies have - until I came along and brought business back to Michigan. JOBS!" Trump said in a tweet shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday. 

Nessel responded: "Seems like you have a problem with all 3 women who run MI-as well as your ability to tell the truth. The auto industry has been thriving for years bc of our incredible auto workers & companies. #UnionStrong," Nessel wrote. 

"Also, hard to say I've "done nothing" as AG with all the lawsuits myself and the other @DemocraticAGs have filed and won against you."

The day before, Trump became embroiled in attacks on Michigan's Secretary of State after her decision to send out absentee ballot applications to qualified Michigan voters for August and November elections.

Trump threatened to withhold federal funding to the state and mistakenly tweeted Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson planned to send absentee ballots, instead of the applications.

Whitmer has had her moments in Trump's harsh glare.

She's clashed with him over badly needed medical supplies and equipment for the state as it fights Covid-19. At one point, Trump called her "the woman from Michigan," which sparked the arrival of T-shirts with the phrase in a nod to the governor. He wondered how Vice President Mike Pence managed to deal with her in meetings with governors.

He's also dubbed her "half" Whitmer as they traded barbs over the government's response to the pandemic and said "all she does is sit there and blame the federal government" for its response to the virus and recently has chided the state for its continued lockdown, despite Whitmer slowing easing restrictions.

More recently, she pushed back after Trump said she should "... give a little, and put out the fire ..." after protests emerged in the state against restrictions she's put in place to stem the virus.

"We're in a global pandemic," Whitmer said during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union." "This isn't something we just negotiate ourselves out of and it's a political matter. This is a public health crisis."

Tensions have eased and Trump has granted Whitmer's request for an emergency declaration for the flooding in central Michigan, which authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the state and provides mobile bridges and help from the National Guard emergency responders and the Army Corps of Engineers.