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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer used a Zoom call with Santa and six groups of children – complete with Covid-19 questions by the little ones – to teach kids not to visit grandparents and other family members for Christmas.

“Another way to stay safe during the holiday is to stay home, but call your grandparents and your cousins and your family,” Whitmer said in a video of the call posted on Wednesday. “It’s the safest way to tell the people you love how much you care about them.”

As Michigan’s kids gear up for the holiday season, I decided to surprise a few of them with a special guest from the North Pole! pic.twitter.com/aI6qGkrouS

The call began with Whitmer introducing Santa to the children and inviting them to ask him questions. Rather than asking about toys or reindeer, the children all stuck to the Covid-19 theme. One asked whether Santa had to wear a mask (of course he and the elves are following government guidelines), while another asked if coronavirus had spread to the North Pole (no, but Santa and the elves are testing regularly and taking every precaution).

One helpful young boy said he would leave out hand sanitizer for Santa to use when he’s done with the milk and cookies – a suggestion that the Democrat governor praised.

A girl used her short moment with Santa to ask how to keep people safe for Christmas. Santa replied, “What I would suggest to do is what the governor is telling all the people of the great state of Michigan to do. Social distance, wash your hands and make sure you wear your masks when you’re outside your home.”

Whitmer broke in to advise against family gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “This year has to look a little bit different so we can stay safe,” she said.

Some social media users were creeped out by the production. Filmmaker Caleb Hull called the video “so cringe,” while journalist Noam Blum saw the unintentional humor: “Gretchen Whitmer always sounds like a Saturday Night Live impression of Gretchen Whitmer.”

Gretchen Whitmer always sounds like a Saturday Night Live impression of Gretchen Whitmer. https://t.co/uzgOh25PkW

“Siri, what does evil look like?” https://t.co/bQvvC0KbhF

Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza called Whitmer’s Zoom call “one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen.” Washington publicist Jillian Anderson quipped, “Where is her Grinch costume?”

This is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen. https://t.co/RVKx3hCdPI

where is her grinch costume?

As much of a bore as Nerf Gun Bad Santa

Other observers went so far as to say Whitmer is doing psychological damage to children by traumatizing them. “Trying their best to ruin children’s childhoods – from building family memories and traditions, no schools, no proms, no organized events, no grandparents, no churches,” another critic said. “Evil is the appropriate word.”

Trying their best to ruin children’s childhoods. From building family memories and traditions, no schools, no proms, no organized events, no grandparents, no churchesEVIL is the appropriate word

But Whitmer fans praised her latest effort at Covid-19 education. Author D. Earl Stephens called her a “tower of power,” while another commenter thanked her for “doing something sweet for the kids this Christmas.”

Happy holidays, Governor.Helluva job this year under extraordinary circumstances. You are everything a public servant should be. A tower of power. A leader. Compassionate. Tough. Smart as hell.Here’s to better things in the year ahead. ✊🏼🇺🇸

Thanks for doing something sweet for the kids this Christmas Governor Whitmer! Merry Christmas! To the conservatives that said this was a hoax and now mad their family members are dying due to covid-19 and stuck at home, you can get coal.

Whitmer has imposed some of the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions in the nation this year and denounced lockdown protestors as “racist and misogynistic.”

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