Often hailed for her handling of the pandemic, Gov. Whitmer was named one of the co-chairs of the committee planning a very different inauguration.
LANSING, Mich.—While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer notably passed both the vice presidency and a cabinet position, instead focusing her attention on Michigan, she has taken a step to showing her commitment to the Biden presidency.
Gov. Whitmer will serve as co-chair for the Biden-Harris inaugural committee, which plans and oversees the various traditions associated with the inauguration of a president, next happening with President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
“I am humbled to become a part of the inauguration for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris as a Co-Chair,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “This inauguration will exemplify the strength and resilience our country has demonstrated throughout this entire year and set the stage for how the Biden-Harris Administration will beat the pandemic, create jobs that fuel economic recovery, and unite all Americans. While we are going to focus on keeping people safe this year, we will make sure Americans have the opportunity to celebrate this pivotal moment for our country.”
Gov. Whitmer’s role in the committee isn’t likely to be a ceremonial selection. Repeatedly over the course of the pandemic Biden has praised Michigan’s handling of the disease and the proactive protections she has championed to prevent widespread transmission of the virus. As co-=chair of the committee, she’ll have an opportunity to apply that experience to making a pandemic-safe celebration of the incoming administration.
The other co-chairs of the inauguration include three members of the House of Representatives and the mayor of Los Angeles.
“Kamala and I are honored and grateful to these leaders for joining our inaugural committee as co-chairs and helping to organize a safe inauguration for all Americans,” said Biden. “These leaders reflect the strength, spirit, and diversity of America and have always held a steadfast commitment to restoring the soul of the nation, building back the middle class, and unifying the country. We are proud of their support and know they will help plan an inauguration that will reflect our nation’s shared values.”
Biden has had a good relationship with Gov. Whitmer since before he won the state’s primary, but that cooperative friendship deepened during the coronavirus pandemic, with Biden inviting her to round tables to discuss the disease in Michigan, bringing her on the campaign trail and putting her on numerous short lists.
As MLive reports, Biden has said this inauguration will look distinctly different from others in recent memory, focusing more on virtual events and likely eschewing the traditional parade. The exact form it takes, however, will be for Gov. Whitmer and the other co-chairs to decide.
To predict what this might look like, consider the Democratic National Convention in August. Gov. Whitmer spoke at the convention on it’s first night not from the convention center in Wisconsin but from Lansing. The convention featured a lot of moments like this, with people giving remarks remotely for a video broadcasted convention rather than the traditional in-person gathering.
At that convention, Gov. Whitmer’s remarks also likely will mirror the tone of those remarks given by leaders at the inauguration.
“Democracy is a team sport,” Whitmer said at the summer convention. “That’s the story of this great nation. Action begets action. Progress begets brogress. And when we work together, we can accomplish anything.”