Gretchen Whitmer in talks to be Joe Biden's VP pick after supporting him against Tara Reade allegation
Whitmer, earlier this month, backed Biden amidst sexual assault allegations made against him by former staffer Reade
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, on Tuesday, May 19, confirmed that she is in talks with former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's team to join his 2020 ticket. Whitmer made the statement amid rising curiosity among voters about Biden's VP choice.
Whitmer, while talking to 'Today's Craig Melvin, said: "I've had a conversation with some folks. It was just an opening conversation and it's not something that I would call a professional formalized vetting."
Biden, who vowed to pick a female running mate in March, formulated a committee last month to vet potential candidates. It was reported last month that the former vice president was considering senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar as prime candidates for his prospective VP. Whitmer, among the nation's female Democratic governors, has been making news in the past months over her handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The Michigan governor, last month, attracted President Donald Trump's attention by pushing for some of the strictest stay-at-home measures in the country, considering her state is one of the hardest hit by the novel coronavirus. Whitmer, earlier this month, had also backed Biden amidst sexual assault allegations made against him by former staffer Tara Reade. The 48-year-old first-term governor, while speaking to CNN in an interview, stated that not "every claim is equal". The governor said that while people deserved an opportunity to tell their stories, it was also important to vet them. "Just because you're a survivor doesn't mean that every claim is equal," she said.
Whitmer previously served in the Michigan state House and Senate, and was a county prosecutor. She comes from one of the three states Trump won over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential elections. Winning Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania back from Trump could be key to Biden winning the 2020 polls.
Whitmer told Melvin in the interview that her current focus right now was to be the governor of a state with an increasing number of coronavirus cases. She said: "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. That's all that matters to me in this moment."
The governor also urged people to be vigilant as states across the nation have begun to open after weeks of stay-at-home orders. "If we drop our guard now, we could be in for a second wave and that would make all of the sacrifice we've made the last 10 weeks in vain and we'd have to take steps backward," she said.
"While we're not universal in a lot of things in this moment, I think we all know we don't want to take a step backward and so everyone has to keep their guard up and be vigilant and do everything they can to mitigate the spread," Whitmer added.
Apart from the Michigan governor, Biden reportedly is also looking at two other senators: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who could assist him far better with Nevada's Latino population, and Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who is a military veteran.