Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revealed new details Tuesday about the vetting process she participated in over the summer as a candidate to potentially become President-elect Joe Biden’s running mate.
In an interview with POLITICO’s Women Rule, Whitmer said she was “really surprised” when Biden, then the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, “called and asked me to go through the process.”
“I thought I was going to be on the committee to help him vet a candidate, not that I would be someone going through the vetting,” Whitmer said.
“But of course I said yes, what an honor to be asked,” she added. “If there was any role that I could play to help him get elected, I think this election was that important. Even though I’ve never aspired to going to Washington, D.C., I was willing to go through the process as he asked.”
Whitmer was reportedly among a handful of finalists to be considered for the role of Biden’s running mate, along with California Sen. Kamala Harris, former national security adviser Susan Rice and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Although she and Biden “had a lot of great conversations through the process,” Whitmer said she was ultimately “pleased” when he selected Harris.
Whitmer described the vice president-elect as “fantastic” and called the decision the “best-case outcome” because of her desire to carry on as Michigan’s governor.
“Everyone in my family was excited, too,” Whitmer said, adding: “This is the dream job I always had wanted. I have three generations of my family here in Michigan.”
Whitmer also divulged that in one of their talks, Biden asked her if she would be willing to join his administration in some other capacity, but she declined any potential offer.
“We have had a conversation, and he asked if I would ever be interested in doing something like that,” Whitmer said.
“I said, right now, I want to stay right here in Michigan. I’ve got a lot of work to do, and my best-case scenario is having a great ally in the White House, which is what I will have come Jan. 20.”
As for her own presidential ambitions, Whitmer insisted that she has “never really considered going to Washington, D.C.” — even though she said she had been “recruited” for House and Senate runs “at different points in my political career.”
“I’ve never considered it, because I haven’t ever wanted to leave Michigan,” she said.