Connect with us

Lifestyle

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has “complete confidence” in Biden’s candidacy

Published

on

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has “complete confidence” in Biden’s candidacy

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer shares her leadership philosophy in her new book, True Gretch: What I’ve Learned About Life, Leadership, and Everything in Between.

Simon and Schuster


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Simon and Schuster

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is staying by President Joe Biden’s side, and despite growing concerns over Biden’s age and mental acuity, Whitmer said she has complete confidence in his candidacy.

“He has the receipts. He’s delivered, whether it’s onshoring supply chains or bringing down the cost of insulin, protecting a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body. These are the fundamentals that I know are weighing on voters all across the country,” she told NPR.

But the governor, who is a co-chair of Biden’s re-election campaign, did not definitively say that Biden is the best candidate to defeat former president Donald Trump in November.

Advertisement

“Our choices on the ballot right now are President Biden and former President Trump. And that is the binary choice in front of us,” she said, when pressed on the question. “I am an enthusiastic supporter of President Biden’s, and I’m going to work my tail off to make sure he gets a second term.”

Whitmer rose to national prominence for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — and her name has been floated as a possible Biden replacement, should he withdraw his candidacy. However, she said she is “very, very supportive of his reelection,” noting that her party is fortunate to have “a deep bench of great Democratic talent.”

In the midst of all this, Whitmer is out with a new book True Gretch: What I’ve Learned about Life, Leadership, and Everything in Between. In it, she shares stories from her life and political career, as well as her leadership philosophy “so that people can either get a little laugh at my expense or maybe get some inspiration or take a lesson that I’ve used to help navigate unimaginable circumstances.”

Whitmer spoke with All Things Considered host Juana Summers about her commitment to President Biden’s reelection, her battleground state of Michigan and what could be next for her.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Advertisement

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Juana Summers: I do have to ask you in this conversation about the direction of your party, your name continues to come up as a person who was a part of that deep bench. I’ll note here that President Biden has said he is staying in the race. But I’d like to ask you directly, if he were to withdraw, would you consider jumping in yourself?

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: You know, this president is not going to withdraw. He is going to stay on the ballot. And so I’m not going to go down the path of all sorts of potential scenarios that I don’t think are ever going to play out. I appreciate that people have suggested I’ve got some skills that might translate, but you know what, it is a set field, and any vote that is short of an affirmative vote for Joe Biden supports a potential Trump second term. And we know how devastating that would be for women’s rights, for our economy, for our democracy. And that’s why I’m not going to waver in my support.

Then-Sen. Kamala Harris (L) (D-CA), Sen. Cory Booker (R)(D-NJ), and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden on stage at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School on March 09, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.

Then-Sen. Kamala Harris (L) (D-CA), Sen. Cory Booker (R)(D-NJ), and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden on stage at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School on March 09, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.

Scott Olson/Getty Images


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Summers: I want to talk about your state of Michigan, where the president will head on Friday for the fourth time this year. And I do not have to tell you this, but your state has always been a key battleground. I think it’s fair to say that this is a state that the president must win to stay in the White House. Do you believe he can?

Whitmer: I do. And I talk about this in the book, how important it is to listen, to show up, to engage with people who maybe others don’t spend time with. In my conversations across Michigan, whether it is around reproductive rights roundtables or it is simply about “how do we restore some decency to this chaotic world with such hot rhetoric?” – I know that we are aligned. People want to know that they’ve got leaders who care about them, who are going to make their lives easier and help them achieve their goals, be able to take care of a family. And President Biden has done that, and he’ll continue to show up in my work on the ground, listening and ensuring that the agenda that I strive to accomplish every single day is about helping people keep more money in their pocket and get ahead.

Advertisement

And so whether it is, like I said, roundtables around reproductive rights or just good paying jobs and American security, all of these things are front and center for voters and the work that I’m doing and certainly the work that President Biden does.

Summers: I want to talk a little bit more about the dynamics there in your state. Michigan is a state that many folks have been paying attention to because of the conversations and the feelings that many people have about the conflict in the Middle East and Israel’s war with Hamas. Are there things that you think the president and the vice president, as they campaign, need to say there to keep voters who care so deeply about those issues, particularly the Muslim and Arab American voters in your state, on their side, to show up to support the Biden-Harris ticket in November?

Whitmer: Well, I think it’s really important for all of us to always make sure to recognize that everyone is hurting. If there’s a universal truth in this moment, it’s that our beautiful Jewish community is in pain, or our beautiful Arab and Muslim and Palestinian communities are in pain to recognize that and figure out how [we] can bring to bear American. Pressure on the situation to get hostages returned and to make sure that we rebuild and have a two state solution. And I think these are critical agenda items that resonate with all communities.

Summers: You also write in your book about the issue of reproductive rights, and you’ve talked about President Biden’s record on the issue. I’d like to ask you about the messaging. You said earlier this year that the president should speak out more about abortion. Do you think that he’s been striking the appropriate tone on that in debates and on the campaign trail? Or [are] there some ways in which you think he could or should fine-tune his approach heading toward November?

Whitmer: I do think that American voters are smart and they understand the issue and why it’s so personal and why this is something that should be vested in and only in the woman and her family and perhaps a trusted doctor. Government should butt out of these incredibly important economic decisions. On top of everything else, the most powerful, profound economic decision any of us makes in our lifetime is whether and when to bring a child into the world. And it is incredibly personal. And for many, it’s not a choice at all. It’s a desperately wanted pregnancy that can’t get carried to term. The government needs to butt out of it. And President Biden shares those values. Certainly refining languages will be something that will continue on as we continue this conversation, this national debate. But I know where this president is at on the issues, and that’s why I’m going to work so hard to make sure he gets reelected.

Advertisement

Summers: Governor, through the course of our conversation and other recent media appearances, I have heard you repeatedly be so steadfast in your support for President Biden and the Biden-Harris ticket. But I’ve also heard you at the same time express a great deal of concern about what another Trump presidency could and would mean for the country. So I just want to ask, do you truly believe, especially after these last few weeks, that President Biden is the person who is best positioned to defeat Donald Trump in November?

Whitmer: Listen. President Biden is the Democratic candidate. I am a co-chair of the Biden-Harris campaign. I am proud to be because I know as governor that this president has done more to help us in Michigan, whether it is fixing the damn roads or it is plowing more resources into helping make sure that our students get back on track after a pandemic or it is bringing down the cost of insulin. He has gotten incredible things done and Michiganders are benefiting from it. Affordable housing work. I mean, the list goes on and on. So I do think that four more years with this president will help Michiganders get ahead. It’ll help Americans everywhere get ahead. And that’s why I am unwavering in my support.

Summers: Governor, I want to close by asking you about your own future. You are, of course, term limited. Your governorship will end in 2026. And there are no shortage of questions out there from many people about what might be next for you. So I’ll just ask you directly, what’s next?

Whitmer: You know what? I don’t know yet. I have two and a half years on my term as governor. I have made a commitment to serve out my term, and I love the state of Michigan. I’ve called it home my whole life and my kids are there and my dad is also in Michigan. And so I’m not quite sure what it looks like after I’m done being governor, but I’m going to run through the tape. I don’t want to take my eye off the ball as we’ve got lots of big, important things that I want to get done between now and the last day as governor of Michigan. I’ll keep you posted.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lifestyle

NBA signs media rights deal with Disney, NBC and Amazon, leaving TNT behind

Published

on

NBA signs media rights deal with Disney, NBC and Amazon, leaving TNT behind

An NBA logo is seen on an official game ball before a game, Feb. 1, 2014, in New York. The NBA said Wednesday that it is not accepting Warner Bros. Discovery’s $1.8 billion per year offer to continue its longtime relationship with the league and therefore has entered into a deal with Amazon Prime Video.

Jason DeCrow/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Jason DeCrow/AP

The NBA signed its 11-year media rights deal with Disney, NBC and Amazon Prime Video on Wednesday after saying it was not accepting Warner Bros. Discovery’s $1.8 billion per year offer to continue its longtime relationship with the league.

The media rights deals were approved by the league’s Board of Governors last week and will bring the league about $76 billion over those 11 years.

WBD had five days to match a part of those deals and said it was exercising its right to do so, but its offer was not considered a true match by the NBA. That means the 2024-25 season will be the last for TNT after a nearly four-decade run.

Advertisement

“Warner Bros. Discovery’s most recent proposal did not match the terms of Amazon Prime Video’s offer and, therefore, we have entered into a long-term arrangement with Amazon,” the league said Wednesday. “Throughout these negotiations, our primary objective has been to maximize the reach and accessibility of our games for our fans. Our new arrangement with Amazon supports this goal by complementing the broadcast, cable and streaming packages that are already part of our new Disney and NBCUniversal arrangements. All three partners have also committed substantial resources to promote the league and enhance the fan experience.”

What Amazon Prime Video gets

Amazon Prime Video will carry games on Friday nights, select Saturday afternoons and Thursday night doubleheaders which will begin after the conclusion of Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” schedule. Prime Video will also take over the NBA League Pass package from WBD.

“The digital opportunities with Amazon align perfectly with the global interest in the NBA,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “And Prime Video’s massive subscriber base will dramatically expand our ability to reach our fans in new and innovative ways.”

The package also includes at least one game on Black Friday and the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game of the NBA Cup.

Advertisement

“Over the past few years, we have worked hard to bring the very best of sports to Prime Video and to continue to innovate on the viewing experience,” said Jay Marine, global head of sports for Prime Video. “We’re thrilled to now add the NBA to our growing sports lineup, including the NFL, UEFA Champions League, NASCAR, NHL, WNBA, NWSL, Wimbledon, and more. We are grateful to partner with the NBA, and can’t wait to tip-off in 2025.”

ESPN and ABC keep the NBA Finals

ESPN and ABC will keep the league’s top package, which includes the NBA Finals. ABC has carried the finals since 2003.

ESPN/ABC will combine for nearly 100 games during the regular season. More than 20 games will air on ABC, mainly on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, while ESPN will have up to 60 games, mostly on Wednesday nights with some Friday games. ABC and ESPN will also combine for five games on Christmas Day and have exclusive national coverage of the final day of the regular season.

During the playoffs, ESPN and ABC will have approximately 18 games in the first two rounds each year and one of the two conference finals series in all but one year of the agreement.

NBC becomes a second network partner

The return of NBC, which carried NBA games from 1990 through 2002, gives the NBA two broadcast network partners for the first time.

Advertisement

NBC will have up to 100 regular-season games, including on Sunday night once the NFL season has ended. It will air games on Tuesdays throughout the regular season, while a Monday night doubleheader would be exclusively streamed on Peacock.

NBC will also have the All-Star Game and All-Star Saturday Night. During the playoffs, NBC and/or Peacock will have up to 28 games the first two rounds, with at least half on NBC.

NBC and Amazon will also carry one of the two conference finals series in six of the 11 years on a rotating basis. NBC will have a conference final in 2026-27 followed by Amazon the next season.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Lifestyle

President Biden Addresses Nation After Dropping Out, Time For New Generation

Published

on

President Biden Addresses Nation After Dropping Out, Time For New Generation

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Lifestyle

These dictators are different. 'Autocracy, Inc.' explains how

Published

on

These dictators are different. 'Autocracy, Inc.' explains how

Naval vessels participate in a Taiwanese military drill near the naval port in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan on Jan. 27, 2016.

Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

The United States and other major democracies face the most challenging geopolitical landscape in decades. The crises include a bloody battle for land in Eastern Europe that challenges the principle of territorial sovereignty, the risk of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the coming years and a brutal war in Gaza that could still spread.

We are in a new era, but how do we define it, and what is the fundamental threat?

Several recent books tackle this crucial question. New York Times White House and National Security correspondent David Sanger calls this historical moment “New Cold Wars.” He sees the U.S. defending the West against a rising China and resurgent Russia. CNN anchor and Chief National Security analyst Jim Sciutto calls it “The Return of Great Powers.”

Advertisement

In her new book, the Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum takes a different, more sweeping view. We are not in Cold War 2.0, she argues, but a battle for the future world order against what she calls “Autocracy, Inc., The Dictators Who Want to Rule the World.

Autocracy, Inc., is not a club. There are no meetings like SPECTRE in a James Bond movie, where villains give progress reports on their kleptocratic gains and attacks on democracy. Instead, Applebaum writes, it is a very loosely knit mix of regimes, ranging from theocracies to monarchies, that operate more like companies. What unites these dictators isn’t an ideology, but something simpler and more prosaic: a laser-focus on preserving their wealth, repressing their people and maintaining power at all costs.

These regimes can help each other in ways large and small, Applebaum writes.

Countries such as Zimbabwe, Belarus and Cuba voted in favor of Russia’s annexation of Crimea at the United Nations in 2014. Russia gave loans to Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro, while Venezuelan police use Chinese-made water cannons, tear gas and surveillance equipment to attack and track street protesters.

Of course, U.S. companies have also supplied authoritarian regimes. When covering the crushing of the democracy movement in Bahrain during the Arab Spring, I rummaged through bins of empty rubber bullet canisters made by a company in Pennsylvania.

Advertisement

More recently and more alarming, though, have been China’s tacit support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin’s June visit to North Korea, which the U.S. accuses of supplying weapons to Russia.

But Autocracy Inc., uses more than conventional arms to attack democracies. In order to retain power and build more wealth, autocrats also undermine the idea of democracy as a viable choice for their own people. Fearful of its former Soviet republics drifting further West – see Ukraine – Russia and its three main TV channels broadcast negative news about Europe an average of 18 times a day during one three-year stretch.

Autocracy, Inc.

China extends its message through local media and helps other dictatorships. After satellite networks dropped Russia Today – RT – following the invasion of Ukraine, China’s StarTimes satellite picked up RT and put it back into African households, where it could spread Moscow’s anti-Western, anti-LGBTQ message, which resonates in many African nations.

The goal is not to persuade people that autocracy is the answer, but to encourage cynicism about the alternative. Applebaum says the message is this: You may not like our society, but at least we are strong and the democratic world is weak, degenerate, divided and dying.  

How did the world end up here?

Advertisement

Applebaum is strong on how Western misjudgment and greed enabled and empowered autocrats over the decades. A working theory in Washington and Berlin was that greater economic integration and dependency between the West and China and Russia would serve as a glue and deterrent, making conflict too costly. But Europe’s dependence on Russian gas predictably backfired. Moscow used it as a source of blackmail following the invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, corporate America’s heavy investment in China helped fuel the country’s extraordinary economic rise, but didn’t lead to the desired political results. Instead of becoming a more liberal, Western-friendly regime, the Communist Party became a more powerful rival. Among other things, Beijing used its new wealth to build islands in the South China Sea and a blue-water navy to challenge America’s.

At just over two hundred pages, Applebaum’s book is slender. She might have done more to detail the boomerang effect of globalization. When American companies exported jobs to China, they cut labor costs, boosted profits and lowered prices for consumers. Those business decisions devastated communities built on everything from auto plants to furniture factories.

That sowed the seeds for the populist backlash in 2016 that continues to roil the country to the benefit of America’s authoritarian opponents.

What is to be done? First, make life harder for dictators.

Advertisement

Applebaum says democratic nations have to make it more difficult for kleptocrats to stash their money overseas. She suggests an international coalition of treasury and finance ministry officials across Europe, Asia and North America work to strengthen transparency and tighten laws together.

This will be tough. Kleptocrats make lucrative clients for lawyers, financiers and real estate agents. One of London’s unofficial industries is money-laundering. And, in a complex political landscape, it can be useful for democracies to work with corrupt regimes to achieve bigger goals.

Another way to combat dictatorship is for democracies to deliver at home, as Charles Dunst argues in Defeating the Dictators: How Democracy Can Prevail in the Age of the Strongman. Political grid-lock, income inequality, stagnant wages and rising crime can provide fertile ground for populists.

Anti-incumbency and accountability have stood out as themes during this epic year of elections as voters punished long-serving parties, such as the Conservatives in the UK and the African National Congress in South Africa.

More broadly, Applebaum says, democratic countries need to reduce their economic dependence on authoritarian rivals. Europe’s reliance on Russian gas was an embarrassing and costly lesson. Minerals could prove another one for the United States.

Advertisement

Today, the U.S. only produces 4% of the world’s lithium and 13% of its cobalt, while China processes more than 80% of all critical minerals.

With the world’s next geopolitical fault-line perhaps lying in the waters around the Taiwan Strait or the South China Sea, this kind of math just doesn’t figure.

Frank Langfitt is NPR’s Global Democracy correspondent. Previously, he spent nearly two decades reporting overseas, based in Beijing, Nairobi, Shanghai and London. In February 2022, he covered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Continue Reading

Trending