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Even though Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has made herself a subject of controversy in Michigan due to her decision to extend the state’s lockdown orders in the face of mounting protests, reports indicate that she still tops Joe Biden’s shortlist for potential running mates.
Speaking on “Today” Tuesday morning, Whitmer said she has been having conversations with Joe Biden’s campaign about possibly becoming his vice presidential pick.
“I’ve had a conversation with some folks,” she said, as reported by the New York Post. “It was just an opening conversation and it’s not something that I would call a professional formalized vetting.”
Whitmer emphasized, however, that she is focusing the bulk of her time on calming the escalating number of protests in her state.
“I am making a little bit of time to stay connected to the campaign, but the most important thing that I have to do right now is be the governor of my home state,” she said. “That’s all that matters to me in this moment.”
According to a recent poll, Michigan residents overwhelmingly approve of the way Whitmer has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. From Deadline Detroit:
A Washington Post-Ipsos poll finds that 72 percent of Michigan residents overall approve of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
The sample for Whitmer wasn’t large enough to estimate results by party. But the paper notes that a stand-alone Fox News poll in April found 64 percent of registered voters approved of Whitmer’s handling of the situation, including 90 percent of Democrats compared with 35 percent of Republicans.
As reported by Detroit News, Whitmer recently came under fire for the state’s nursing home policy during the pandemic, which required those facilities to take COVID-19 patients.
“Whitmer issued an executive order last month that requires seniors who are positive for COVID-19 to be brought to the TCF Center in Detroit or to ‘regional hubs,’ which are nursing homes where the state says there has to be separation of the COVID-19 positive and negative patients,” the outlet reported.
In response to the protests in her state, Whitmer has increasingly adopted hostile language by threatening to extend the lockdown even further while pushing talking points about the “new normal.”
“We’re gonna be in a new normal for quite a while. And it doesn’t mean that sports is over,” Whitmer said in a press conference last Friday. “We need a vaccine, and we need to have mass quantities available,” she continued. “Or we need to be able to test and be able to acknowledge that we’ve got some immunity that’s built up. We’re not there yet and until that happens I think all the organizers of these leagues understand how important it is that we act responsibly here.”
Whitmer has also condemned some of the protesters of her lockdown policy for expressing some of the “worst racism in U.S. history.”
“There were swastikas and Confederate flags and nooses and people with assault rifles,” Whitmer said. “Some of the outrageousnesses of what happened at our capitol depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country.”