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Whitmer: 'Never say never' to Biden administration position

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned that the presidential race in Michigan would “tighten up” in the coming weeks and said she’d “never say never” to a position in candidate Joe Biden’s administration during a spate of interviews Tuesday morning. 

In an interview with "CBS This Morning," Whitmer was asked about the possibility of a position in Biden’s cabinet should he win election in November. Whitmer said she would “never say never to anything” but noted she was happy to be staying in Michigan after being passed over as Biden's running mate. 

“One of the things that is so good about this moment is that I get to keep the job that I love,” Whitmer said. The East Lansing Democrat said she'd "never say never to anything" but "it’d be hard to be where I am when it comes to making sure I’m here on behalf of the people of Michigan and deliver for Michiganders.”

The interview with "CBS This Morning" was the first of four national interviews Whitmer participated in Tuesday, hours after speaking at the virtual Democratic National Convention

Her other interviews Tuesday morning were with National Public Radio, CNN "New Day" and MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Whitmer told "New Day" she thought "the world" of Biden's running mate Kamala Harris when asked about Biden's consideration of Whitmer for the same role.

“It was intensive and it certainly was an honor to be asked to go through it," Whitmer said of the vetting process. 

Whitmer reiterated earlier warnings that Michigan was not a certainty for either candidate, noting she didn't buy "for a second" polling that placed Biden ahead by double digits. Polls “will be all over the place through Election Day,” she said on "CBS This Morning."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks about the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan during a press conference in Lansing on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

“After Labor Day, I know things will tighten up,” Whitmer said. “They always seem to. That’s why I don’t want anyone to take anything for granted.”

Lagging enthusiasm among Democrats ahead of the November election and problems with the U.S. Postal Service all add to the unpredictability in the weeks ahead, she said. 

“Every one of these factors is concerning,” Whitmer said. “We’ve got to continue to do the work.”

When asked about the possibility of Trump holding a rally in Michigan, Whitmer noted her executive orders limit gatherings to 10 people in a closed space and 100 people outdoors in the lower regions of the state. 

"So that would mean that rallies, no matter who wants to hold them, would be dangerous and are precluded under Michigan law right now," Whitmer said. "Although, that being said, we know that the president is likely to come to Michigan at some point, we recognize that political speech is protected. But we've got to protect public health, too, and ask that they do what everyone else is doing and that is observe the best practices to protect life.”

Whitmer used her address Monday night to criticize President Donald Trump’s administration’s response to the pandemic and promised that Biden and his running mate Harris would be guided by “science” not “ego.”

She repeated those criticisms in her NPR interview Tuesday, arguing Trump’s policies endangered not only the health of the nation, but also the country’s economic stability. 

“It’s very clear that the failure of our federal government to get their arms around this pandemic and to save lives is costing all of us,” Whitmer said. “…The recession that has accompanied the mishandling of the pandemic is real. While the president didn’t create the pandemic, the response is all his.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com