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State Majority Leader Mike Shirkey calls Gov. Whitmer "batshit crazy"

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey

Weeks after comparing abortion to slavery, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) has made another controversial comment.

Speaking to Republican students at Hillsdale College last week, Shirkey said Governor Whitmer was "on the batshit crazy spectrum." Democratic lawmakers say it's just the latest in a string of sexist remarks about the Governor by Republican politicians.

Hillsdale student newspaper The Collegian first revealed the comments, and reported that the speech was well received by the audience.

The article also quotes Shirkey referring to Whitmer's vetoes as "rash political misbehavior," and saying, :"[Democrats] sit around and wait for her to call them and tell them to do this or do that."

Shirkey apologized Friday, saying the comment was disrespectful and unnecessary. "I reached out to Governor Whitmer directly and apologized for my comments," he said in a statement . "I regret what I said. In times of peak frustration we often say things we don't mean, but that's no excuse for my offensive statement. It was disrespectful and unnecessary."

Whitmer is in Isreal, but her communications director Zach Pohl said, "Just like President Trump, it seems clear that women in power make the Senate majority leader very uncomfortable."

The comments drew outrage - and some jokes - from state Democrats.

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich said, "I am offended and disappointed by Senator Shirkey's remarks. I've served with multiple majority leaders and disagreed with them at times, but they never resorted to personal attacks. This crap more closely resembles the childish behavior or President Trump than the working relationship we expect. Senator Shirkey's comments indicate that he has zero interest in righting wrongs and working together to move our state forward, and I find that very unfortunate."

In addition, Shirkey's use of the word "spectrum" brought condemnation from those who said it amounted to mocking people with autism where the formal name for the condition is Autism spectrum disorder.

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Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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