Could Whitmer be named VP? Biden has been "explicit" she's in the running, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist says
Joe Biden has been "explicit" about where he stands on his options for vice president, and Michigan's governor is on that list.
That's what Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said Sunday night as speculation over the Gretchen Whitmer's chances of being named to the Democratic nominee's ticket grew to a boil last week.
Sources told the Associated Press last Friday that Whitmer had traveled to Delaware the weekend before to meet with Biden. It was her first known in-person session with the candidate.
"Again, I don't have any inside information on the process of the vice president's looking, but I do know that he's been explicit, that Gov. Whitmer is absolutely still on his list of people he is considering for his partner," said Gilchrist.
That would put the first-time governor among the ranks of California Senator and former presidential candidate Kamala Harris and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice as possible picks for Biden.
Whitmer's star has risen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Overseeing the state's outbreak, she's issued an array of executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, which had climbed to one of the worst rates in the country early on.
Since then, the state has measured a second uptick in new cases - which have plateaued in the last week. At the same time, she's also approached the health disparities of racial minorities in Michigan as health reports indicated an unequal number of cases and deaths among African Americans.
Then, last week she declared racism a public health crisis while creating a Black Leadership Advisory Council, which is designed to confront systemic racism within the state.
The approach to the twin crises that are playing out across the U.S. has guided Whitmer to become a source of VP speculation over the last few months.
A review of flight records last week showed a chartered flight left Lansing's Capital Region International Airport for Delaware Coastal Airport at 5:33 p.m. and returned at 11:16 p.m.
The governor's office declined to confirm or deny the trip, while the Biden campaign declined to comment.
A decision on who will become Biden's VP could be announced by the end of the week. The Democratic National Convention starts Aug. 17.