A Detroit, Mich., branch of the Democratic Party plans to censure state representative Karen Whitsett (D., Detroit) after she met with President Trump earlier this month and praised him for recommending the anti-viral drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.
Whitsett contracted coronavirus in March and has since recovered. The freshman lawmaker credited hydroxychloroquine, a medication touted by Trump and other U.S. officials as a possible therapeutic for coronavirus, with saving her life.
“Thank you for everything that you have done,” Whitsett told Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on April 14. “I did not know that saying thank you had a political line…I thought just saying thank you meant ‘thank you.'”
The potential benefits of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients have not yet been confirmed by medical studies, however state governors including New York’s Andrew Cuomo have allowed doctors to use the medication if they choose.
However, Detroit’s 13th Congressional District Democratic Party plans to censure Whitsett and withhold any future endorsements of the lawmaker for breaking protocol by meeting the president. Whitsett also has a history of statements and actions that have bucked the party apparatus, sometimes making negative statements about the party and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“At the end of the day, we have political systems,” 13th District chairman Jonathan Kinloch said. “We have political parties, and political parties exist for a reason…[representatives] belong to the members and precinct delegates of the Democratic Party.”
The 13th District summoned Whitsett for a screening of possible State House candidates in the district on Sunday, but Whitsett refused to attend.
“I don’t have time for politics,” Whitsett said. “That’s ridiculous, during a pandemic, that they think I have time for a screening…I have people that need me.” The lawmaker said she has been handing out food and cleaning supplies to people in her district since her recovery.