Jordan is not one of the many members of Congress who have either contracted the coronavirus or had to self-quarantine because they were exposed to someone who did. He’s been shuttling back and forth between Ohio and Washington, D.C., for the past several weeks, frequently the only paying customer on an otherwise empty flight. (No, he does not wear a mask, he said.)
Jordan sees the “essential” side of the economy—health-care workers, first responders, grocery stores, trucking companies—figuring out how to work through the pandemic and wonders why other businesses can’t do the same. “If that can all happen, we need to get the rest of the economy up and moving, putting in place the same kind of safeguards,” the congressman told me. “What I know is it’s time to get back to work,” Jordan said. “Let’s do it now.”
If Jordan, along with Trump, occupies one extreme of the debate over shutdowns, Representative Bill Huizenga finds himself somewhere in the middle.
“I’m ready to go get a haircut,” he told me on Tuesday.
It was a political statement as much as it was an acknowledgment of the basic necessity of modern grooming: Like other politicians who must be ready to go on TV at a moment’s notice, Huizenga gets his gray locks snipped more frequently than most, and he hasn’t gotten a haircut since he left Washington last month.
The 51-year-old Michigan Republican is not calling for a full-on immediate return to normal, but he wants his governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, to relax some of the restrictions she’s ordered and begin at least a phased, regional reopening of the state’s economy. That’s in line with what Trump has advocated, and some conservative governors have heeded his call. In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp announced that beginning tomorrow, businesses including bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, nail salons, and, yes, barber shops can reopen as long as they practice social distancing and screen employees for signs of illness.
Whitmer hasn’t done the same in Michigan, a state with one of the largest per capita outbreaks in the country. Last week she expanded restrictions on businesses and personal travel, a decision that prompted protests and drew criticism from Republicans, including Huizenga. Whitmer denounced the demonstrators, saying they “endangered people’s lives.”
Read: Gretchen Whitmer: “There’s going to be a horrible cost”
Huizenga represents a district that starts outside Grand Rapids in the western part of the state and runs north along the coast of Lake Michigan. He’s a mainstream conservative in the modern Republican Party. A friend of former Speaker Paul Ryan, he’s neither an aisle-crossing moderate nor a staunch ally of Trump’s. And while he wasn’t about to join the demonstrators in Lansing, he wasn’t wholly condemning them either. “I wasn’t surprised that it happened,” he told me, adding that he did wish that the protesters had listened to pleas that they adhere to social distancing while exercising their First Amendment rights.