Detroit Free Press editors gathered in a second-floor conference room this afternoon and grilled Gov. Rick Snyder for an hour following his sudden shift from middle-of-the-road leader to deceptive, ultra-conservative politician.
Snyder often struggled to answer.
The following is from live Tweets posted by Free Press editors:
Asked why he signed the controversial Right to Work (RTW) bill after saying a year ago he was opposed to it, Snyder responded, “I don’t see RTW as a switch. I didn’t promote it. I didn’t encourage it.”
So why delve into such contentious issues?
“I don’t control my agenda alone,” Snyder said. “There are other people who set that agenda as well.”
The interview came just seven hours after the Senate and House passed controversial laws related to taxes, abortion, emergency managers and elections.
The anti-abortion bill is considered one of the most stringent in the country, and Snyder, who has built his image around compromise, moderation and fairness, is expected to sign it.
But when asked about specifics of the bill, Snyder confessed he wasn’t familiar enough with the issue.
“You’re a data guy,” columnist Nancy Kaffer said. “Where is the data that shows coerced abortions are a big problem in Michigan?”
Snyder had no response.
“I can’t say for sure why companies like right-to-work states,” Snyder admitted, arguing most young people don’t care about union issues.
Piped in Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson: “You don’t seem to be in control of the message Michigan presents to the rest of the country.”
After being asked how he’s going to renew the trust he broke, Snyder responded: “You just keep moving ahead.”
What about his legacy?
“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my legacy,” Snyder said, “but it will be a more challenging environment.”
View all the Tweets here.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.