Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) traveled to Delaware last weekend to meet in-person with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as he draws near a decision about who will fill the vice presidential slot on the Democratic ticket in November.
The Associated Press reported late Friday that Whitmer’s trip is the first known example of a potential running mate traveling to meet Biden for an in-person session as he comes close to announcing his decision.
Two high-ranking Michigan Democrats told the AP that Whitmer met with Biden on Sunday.
The governor’s office declined to confirm or deny Whitmer’s trip. Spokeswoman Tiffany Brown told the AP, “We don’t discuss her personal schedule.”
Biden campaigned for Whitmer during the 2018 gubernatorial election and the first-term governor has long been considered as a possible running mate.
Last week, reports surfaced that some Biden allies have urged the Democratic presidential nominee to break the news publicly around August 10 — just one week before the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to begin.
But Biden has conducted a months-long search for who would be his best vice presidential pick, saying that he would choose a woman. He built a list of at least a dozen potential candidates, among them, Democratic Senators Kamala Harris (CA) and Elizabeth Warren (MA). Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) also made his list of picks. According to Politico, more than 300 delegates to the Democratic National Convention and members of the Democratic National Committee urged Biden this week to pick Bass as his governing partner.
Some have suggested that Biden should select a Black woman amid the nation’s struggle to address a long history of racial inequality. Some conservatives have smeared those calls.
Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice earlier this week said that she was well-positioned as a potential pick since she had far-reaching experience dealing with public health crises under Obama.
Whitmer, the governor of a battleground state, deepened her national profile after delivering the Democrats’ response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. She has also publicly criticized the President’s bungled pandemic response. In April, she created a task force to address racial disparities amid the pandemic and proposed police reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Just days after meeting with Biden, Whitmer, who is a co-chair on his campaign on Wednesday declared “racism to be a public health crisis.” She also announced an advisory council of Black leaders to “develop, review, and recommend policies and actions designed to eradicate and prevent discrimination and racial inequity in Michigan.”
If Whitmer becomes Biden’s running mate and the pair wins, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II would become the nation’s sole Black governor.