We’re hearing Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s name more and more at the national level — for her response to the coronavirus health crisis.
The governor has not been shy about her disappointment in the federal government’s response to COVID-19, crossing words with President Trump on social media more than once since this pandemic began.
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The White House also firing back, criticizing the governor both online and during press conferences, even referring to her as “the woman from Michigan,” a title Whitmer supporters have since coined as a badge of honor.
And now, 7 Action News is learning Michigan’s chief executive is on the mind of the president’s likely challenger in November – Vice President Joe Biden.
Whitmer was on stage at Detroit Renaissance High School the night before the Michigan primary, which Joe Biden won a double digit victory over Senator Bernie Sanders. The very next day, Michigan confirmed its first COVID-19 cases.
Tuesday night on MSNBC’s 11th Hour with Brian Williams, Biden made it clear, Whitmer has his attention. He said candidly, Whitmer is on his list of potential running mates.
"She hadn't lengthen the list, she made the list in my mind two months ago," Biden told Williams.
Whitmer's office released a statement in response to Biden's appearance:
“The governor is flattered that Brian Williams would ask and that the vice president would mention her, but right now she is focused 100 percent on doing everything she can to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the people of Michigan.”
Since COVID-19 first hit Michigan in early March, Gov. Whitmer has been public about the state’s need for more federal help, including medical equipment like ventilators and masks.
Over the weekend, the White House approved the governor's request for a federal disaster declaration due to COVID-19, something Whitmer said is a good start, but that Michigan will need more federal support to stop the spread of the virus.
Whitmer currently serves as a national campaign chair for Biden, who has previously said he will choose a woman as his VP.