Ivanka Trump in Michigan: 'We have to know how to live with' COVID-19

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Alto — Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, campaigned Monday in Michigan, where she spoke out against what she described as "perpetual shutdowns" aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.

Ivanka Trump, who also serves as a White House adviser to her father, made a surprise stop at Robinette's Apple Haus & Winery in Grand Rapids before speaking to a crowd of about 100 people at Wildwood Family Farms in Alto.

Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, visits Robinette's Apple Haus & Winery in Grand Rapids on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020.

During the Alto event, Ivanka Trump took questions from Mercedes Schlapp, another adviser to the president. At one point, Schlapp said, "We won’t mention any names," but there are certain governors who believe in a "continuous lockdown of the economy and the schools."

The question appeared to be a jab at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who imposed strict limitations on business activities in the spring to stem the spread of COVID-19. However, the governor has spent the past few months easing the restrictions, allowing industries to reopen their activities. School districts in the state also get to decide for themselves whether to have in-person instruction.

"Shutdowns, perpetual shutdowns, that’s not a strategy,” Ivanka Trump said. “There’s no strategy behind shutting it down."

"We have to know how to live with this," she added later. "We have to do so safely. We have to be responsible. We have to love our neighbors and protect one another, particularly the most vulnerable amongst us."

Ivanka Trump said her father recognizes the importance of having children in school with their peers. The virus needs to be approached with complexity and not a "one-size-fits-all" shut-it-down approach, she said.

The comments came as Michigan and other states have reported increases in COVID-19 cases in recent days. Michigan reported 10,241 new cases last week, the state's largest weekly total yet, amid fears of a second wave.

Over the summer, researchers at Imperial College London and Oxford University studied stay-at-home orders and other non-pharmaceutical interventions against the novel coronavirus. They found that states that were more successful at keeping people at home were also more successful at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said he'll listen to scientists and plans to expand testing and encourage people to wear masks to combat the virus.

Biden has argued that the nation can't confront its economic problems until it gets COVID-19 under control.

Ivanka Trump contended Monday that her father is best suited to oversee the economic recovery from the virus. She said his supporters are fighting for American exceptionalism and the "great American comeback."

"This president has said that he will create 10 million jobs in the next 10 months. And no one else will be able to do that," she said.

Her stops in Michigan came 15 days before the Nov. 3 election and in pivotal Kent County, which has already drawn visits this month from Biden and Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump claimed Kent County by 3 percentage points, fewer than 10,000 votes, in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Two years later, Democrat Whitmer won Kent County by 4 percentage points, or about 11,600 votes, on her way to becoming governor.

Ivanka Trump toured Robinette's Apple Haus & Winery, where she purchased doughnuts and two gallons of apple cider. She also dipped her own caramel apples.

"This is the best," she said as she worked on the apples.

She wore a mask throughout visit to the orchard as did the vast majority of the about 100 people who attended her appearance in Alto.