LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - On Tuesday, Gretchen Whitmer will become the first Michigan governor to deliver a Democratic response to a presidential State of the Union message.
The governor is no fan of President Donald Trump but after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Whitmer to take this assignment, she indicated she would not take him on. Instead of criticizing him, she will lay out a Democratic agenda based on what citizens want. You can watch the governor's speech live on fox2detroit.com following the president's address, which began at 9 p.m, or watch below:
"My job is to make sure I offer a real Democratic vision for what we can be in this country and what we are doing here in Michigan and what other Democratic governors are doing across the country," she said.
The president thinks Michigan is critical to Trump's re-election bid, which is why he was in Battle Creek recently and in Macomb County last week. Democrats want to win Michigan back and that's part of the reason the governor was picked for this response.
"This is a moment where the people of the United States want to know that their leaders are looking out for them, that they are focused on things that are going to improve their lives and preserve our moral standing in the world," Whitmer said.
When it was announced the governor would give this speech, the state GOP chairwoman Laura Cox dismissed Whitmer as someone who broke her promises and was more interested in "photo ops and sound bites." But the senate GOP leader takes the high road instead.
"I actually want her to be successful in delivering the message," said Senate GOP Leader Mike Shirkey. "I want anybody from Michigan to look good. Do I want the Democrats to win in that election? Heck no, but I have no wish for her to look bad when she is representing the state of Michigan,"
The governor knows this speech will fuel speculation that her name will be mentioned for vice president. In fact, that very point was in the New York Times on Monday. But she says she isn't interested, and as for the speculation:
"That's fine, let them speculate. It doesn't change who I am or what I'm going to do. What I'm going to stay focused on is solving problems here in Michigan," she said.