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Meet the Democratic Governor Charged With Responding to Trump's State of the Union Address

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

President Donald Trump is scheduled to give his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night. He's likely to tout his record-breaking unemployment rates, especially for African Americans and Hispanics, and a booming economy. 


After Trump makes his remarks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor of Michigan, is scheduled to deliver the Democrats' response.

According to Whitmer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked her to make the remarks, something she thought was "mind-boggling" but felt compelled to do.

"It was mind-boggling, to be honest. This is not something that I've never really thought about," Whitmer told Fox 2 News in Detroit. "When Speaker Pelosi called, of course, I said yes because what else can you say to Speaker Pelosi."

The governor will have 10 minutes to give her take on what she thinks is important, but she said she refuses to blast President Trump.

"I am going to layout a Democratic agenda - that's how I am. I think that in this country, we can feel so divided," she said. "I think what the people of our country are craving is a vision - a vision that actually improves their lives and that's what I'm going to stay focused on."

Although most of the 2020 Democrats are focused on what Trump says on Twitter, Whitmer believes Americans care about more important issues, like infrastructure and training for better-paying jobs, along with a solid agenda moving forward.


“These are the fundamentals that people in America are concerned about,” Whitmer told the Associated Press, She said Pelosi “thought I would have a message that would resonate.”

If Trump says something "unpredictable," then she will respond if she feels compelled to do so.

"It's very unpredictable what could be said at the State of the Union and where we are in terms of the impeachment trial. I'm going to have some thoughts going in, but of course, I've got to be somewhat nimble because if something really interesting happens, I think I'll need to make sure to respond to that, too," she explained.

Whitmer was elected in 2018 in a state Trump won during the 2016 elections. Using Whitmer to deliver the State of the Union response is said to be a way for Democrats to hone in on swing states Trump won that they're hoping to flip blue come November. 

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