LANSING, Mich. (WWMT) — The national spotlight is on Michigan as the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019, COVID-19, continues to wreak havoc on the state and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has emerged as a national focal point for her leadership.
Whitmer has appeared on several national news outlets over the past few weeks. On Tuesday, former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden threw Whitmer's name out as a potential pick for his running mate. On MSNBC’s 11th Hour with Brian Williams, Biden said Whitmer was on his list.
“She hasn’t lengthened the list, she made the list in my mind, two months ago,” Biden said when asked about Whitmer’s new-found national attention from the COVID-19 pandemic raising her profile to him.
Whitmer endorsed Biden for president on March 5 before Michigan’s March 10 presidential primary, the same day the first two COVID-19 cases were discovered in the state. She was also named a national co-chair for the Biden campaign and said she would use her role to help vet potential vice presidential picks.
“I think it’s really important that Michigan has the ability to drive the national agenda and that’s something that Joe Biden and I have talked about,” Whitmer said during a March 6 interview. “I do think that we should have a woman on the ticket.”
The female running mate should be a woman of color, she added. When asked who, she threw out names like Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Stacey Abrams, a former state representative from Georgia and Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.
Rumblings of her name being on the short-list for VP started when she was chosen to deliver the party’s official response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address in February, a spot typically reserved for someone seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. She has repeatedly denied any aspirations of being chosen as a running mate.
“I have never wanted to move to Washington, D.C., I’ll just be very honest with you,” Whitmer said March 6. “I am 14 months into the job that I am so grateful for and I have a lot of work to do.”
Her profile continues to rise as COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Michigan. Whitmer has been critical of the federal government for not having a nationwide plan or acting earlier to prevent the spread of COVID-19, she has said multiple times on national TV. President Trump has criticized Whitmer as well for her response at the state level. Their back and forth has only elevated her national profile in the conversation right now.
Biden said Tuesday he wants to have the vetting process officially start in mid-April. In addition to Whitmer, he said there are anywhere between six and 10 women on his list.
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