by Dominick Mastrangelo | April 23, 2020
Local Democrats in Detroit will hold a vote this weekend to censure a lawmaker who met with President Trump and credited him with saving her life after he touted a drug she says kept her alive when she fell ill with the coronavirus.
“At the end of the day, we have political systems,” Jonathan Kinloch, chairman of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization, told Detroit News. “We have political parties, and political parties exist for a reason.”
Critics argue state Rep. Karen Whitsett, an African American Democrat, broke protocol when she met earlier this month with Trump and other federal officials at the White House. Whitsett participated in a round table discussion with other survivors of the virus on April 14.
Whitsett said she tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in March, but began feeling better and eventually recovered after taking the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine.
“I just can’t say how wonderful it is to see your face, and thank you for everything that you have done,” said Whitsett. “I did not know that saying thank you had a political line. I did not know that. I thought just saying thank you meant thank you.”
Whitsett claimed “she wouldn’t be here today” if Trump had not talked about the drug as a possible cure for the coronavirus. The drug has not been approved for widespread use against the coronavirus by federal health officials.
If the vote to censure Whitsett passes, she would be barred from receiving endorsements from the local Democratic Party this year and would not be included in the group’s election activities for the next two election cycles.
Candidates the local Democratic Party backs “do not belong to themselves,” Kinloch said. “They belong to the members and precinct delegates of the Democratic Party.”
Whitsett is up for reelection this fall and said, “I will continue to fight for the city of Detroit and the people in Detroit who need it the most, and that is the black community. We’re the voiceless, and I don’t care who I got to go up against to do that.”