Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a campaign event for Kamala Harris in Detroit, Michigan on 22 September
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has requested the president-elect Joe Biden leave her name out of consideration when he assembles his first cabinet.
Ms Whitmer was understood to be on the shortlist of candidates for Mr Biden’s running mate before he picked Kamala Harris, and is among the favourites to be given a cabinet role instead.
But in an interview given to the WDIV Detroit news network on Sunday, when asked if she was set to join the Biden administration, Ms Whitmer’s answer was an unequivocal no.
She said: “I have been very clear all along that I have no intention of leaving.
“I love being the Governor of Michigan. I feel grateful to be here, and I have a lot of work to do. I think I can be a great partner to a Biden-Harris administration from right here at home, and I know they’re going to be a great partner to Michigan,” she added.
Ms Whitmer reportedly pulled out of consideration to be Mr Biden’s running mate on the basis that he should choose a Black woman instead, and she also praised the vice president-elect on Sunday.
“I want to take a minute to acknowledge the incredible visual last night, watching Kamala Harris give that speech,” she said. “It was a beautiful speech, and thinking about my daughters seeing this phenomenal woman in this role… I mean, it was just so moving.”
Ms Whitmer was entrusted with the responsibility of turning Michigan blue again as the co-chair of president-elect Biden’s campaign. President Trump won the traditionally Democrat=leaning state in 2016 with 10,714 votes.
Mr Biden’s projected victory in the swing state is with 146,123 votes, according to the Associated Press.
In light of President Trump’s allegations of rigging and his refusal to concede, Ms Whitmer also talked about the current polarisation in American society.
“We are deeply divided as a nation and certainly we see those divisions here in our state, and yet our Democratic process depends on the will of the people. People decide our leaders and when the people have spoken, it is incumbent on all of us to rise to the ideals of this democracy and have a peaceful exchange of power and to move forward together,” Ms Whitmer said.
She added that her administration is going to focus on bringing people together during the pandemic.
Ms Whitmer was accused by Republicans of ignoring her state during the pandemic amid the speculation that she would take a national position, and in her WDIV interview the governor said the ongoing Covid-19 crisis was the main reason she wanted to keep working on the home front.
Michigan has seen more than 209,000 cases of coronavirus so far and 7,994 deaths. The state reported its highest daily increase in infections on Saturday, with 6,225 fresh cases in a day.