Trump Just Might Turn 'The Woman From Michigan' Into Biden's Running Mate

President Trump has single-handedly thrust a mostly unknown politician into the spotlight — and she might just wind up being Joseph R. Biden’s running mate, bashing him relentlessly until Nov. 3.
During his daily press briefing last Friday, Trump complained about not getting enough credit for his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“When they’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative to the Army Corps. They’re not appreciative to FEMA. It’s not right. These people are incredible. They’re working 24 hours a day,” he said. “Mike Pence, I don’t think he sleeps any more. These are people that should be appreciated.”
Then he got personal. “I mean, I’m a different type of person. I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan.’ All — it doesn’t make any difference what happens,” he said.
And he went on about “the woman from Michigan.”
“Michigan, all she does is — she has no idea what’s going on. And all she does is say, ‘Oh, it’s the federal government’s fault.’ And we’ve taken such great care of Michigan,” Trump said.
And boom. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, hits the big time.
How big? On March 5, her odds of being selected by Biden as his running mate were 33/1. By March 20, she’d risen to 16/1. On Tuesday, she was a 10/1 shot.
Trump has continued to put Whitmer front and center in the race to join Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on the ticket.
And the president is keeping up the heat. He later referred to her as “Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer” in a tweet and said she is “way in over her head,” “doesn’t have a clue” and “likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude!”
But Trump is playing with fire.
Whitmer, 48, is barely known even within circles of political pundits and pollsters, but she’s seen by top power brokers as a rising star in the Democratic Party. A lawyer whose father was the president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and whose mother was an assistant state attorney general, she’s real.
In 2016, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which voted for former President Barack Obama twice, and Biden will need to flip them back to the Democratic side to win in November.
But Whitmer’s addition to the ticket might just put Michigan, a state whose governorship she won by nearly 10 percentage points in 2018, into the D column.
While many have never heard of her, she was selected to give the official Democratic response to Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address, considered a big honor.
And she has of late taken direct aim at Trump, complaining that the federal government’s response has been lacking in her state. Trump has been pushing the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which some doctors have said shows promise in treating COVID-19, but Whitmer instructed medical workers in Michigan not to prescribe the medicine.
“Prescribing any kind of prescription must also be associated with medical documentation showing proof of the medical necessity and medical condition for which the patient is being treated. Again, these are drugs that have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19,” said a letter from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
And Whitmer responded to Trump’s attacks on Twitter with a post that included a hand-waving emoji, writing, “Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me.”
Biden also defended Whitmer in a statement last week, saying Trump could “learn a thing or two from Governor Whitmer — speed matters, details matter, and people matter.”
But the spotlight brings more scrutiny, and she’s had a few fumbles. Last Friday, Whitmer urged Michiganders to “lock arms” to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Um … locking arms is how the virus spreads. She was widely mocked on social media.
Yet unlike many of the others contenders — and remember, Biden has vowed to pick a woman — Whitmer has said she doesn’t want the job.
“I think it is important that he has a woman running mate, to be honest. I think that there are a lot of phenomenal potential running mates for him,” she said earlier this month on MSNBC. “It’s not going to be me, but I am going to have a hand in helping make sure that he has the rounded-out ticket that can win.”
But turning down an offer to be the second-most powerful politician in the world doesn’t happen often.
And if Biden comes knocking, she’ll answer.
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