Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) recently told a group of College Republicans that his Democratic colleagues are “on the bat s–t crazy spectrum.”
According to The Collegian, Shirkey made the comments during an event hosted by the Hillsdale College Republicans. He discussed his involvement in the state’s ongoing budget fight and accused Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of “rash political misbehavior.”
“She exercised her veto pen and did an unprecedented number of 147 line-item vetoes,” Shirkey said. “In response to the passage of the budget, she tapped into a very obscure 1921 law that gave the governor the power to transfer money within budgets.”
Whitmer’s refusal to formally limit her own executive privileges continues to be a sticking point for Republicans in the budget negotiations. The 1921 law referenced by Shirkey is called the State Administrative Board Act, which grants the governor the authority to move funding between state agencies without legislative approval.
Whitmer has pledged to not use her powers to reallocate funding going forward, but is opposed to signing a bill that would formally limit her executive privileges. The Michigan Republican Party said Whitmer “cannot be trusted” to abide by her promise, as The Michigan Star previously reported.
Another source of controversy was Whitmer’s strategy of targeting Republican districts and causes in her vetoes in order to force Republicans to agree to her budget priorities. With reports that budget talks could continue into December, Shirkey said the Republican Party’s patience is wearing thin.
“The pressure is building and it will continue to increase and it will affect people differently,” he said. “My governor has the two Democratic caucuses fairly locked up. They sit around and wait for her to call them and tell them to do this or do that.”
Zack Pohl, Whitmer’s communications director, told The Detroit News it “seems clear that women in power make the Senate majority leader very uncomfortable.” Other Democrats called his comments “repulsive and flagrantly disrespectful.”
Shirkey’s office eventually said he “regrets the characterization” and “poor choice of words.” He faced backlash last week after he compared the “scourge” of abortion to slavery, but he refused to apologize for his comments.
He also touched on the topic of impeachment during his speech to the Hillsdale College Republicans.
“We are going through ‘kabuki’ theater on impeachment,” he said. “It hurts my heart to see our president under attack, but it also hurts my heart to see our institutions under attack.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer.