- State of Michigan
- Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a recent news conference.
When the fraught 2020 election revealed that America had chosen to unseat President Donald Trump in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden, people across the country filled the streets. Some danced, others hugged fellow masked strangers and passed around bottles of bubbly, but many celebrated Biden's historic win despite the raging pandemic.
Though the celebration will continue when Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, the party along the National Mall may look very different. His Inaugural Committee, which includes Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, has committed to prioritizing public safety all while “engaging” the country in getting hyped over the fact that someone like Trump no longer has access to, oh, you know, nuclear launch codes.
On Monday it was announced that Whitmer had been selected as one of five elected officials to serve on President-elect Biden's Inaugural Committee along with U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-South Carolina; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Delaware's U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester; and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who has also been selected as one of Biden's senior advisers, The Detroit News reports.
“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,” Whitmer shared in a statement.
“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.”
Biden's choice to assign Whitmer the role comes as little surprise considering the Michigan governor was on Biden's shortlist for running mate and has been widely recognized for her fierce implementation of life-saving shutdowns and protocols to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 282,000 Americans since March. (Her actions also brought on a Michigan Supreme Court ruling against her emergency powers and also made her a very public target with kidnapping plots and death threats.) President Trump has also taken aim at Whitmer during the course of the pandemic, calling her a “dictator” and inciting violent rhetoric by not discouraging his followers when they recycled 2016's “lock her up chant!” at recent MAGA rallies.
Biden, who has said his first order of business as President will be enforcing a 100-day mask mandate for all Americans, has also said his inauguration will likely follow the format of this year's Democratic National Convention, which was a virtual and crowd-less event.
“My guess is that there probably will not be a gigantic inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Biden said Friday. “But my guess is you'll see a lot of virtual activity in states all across America, engaging even more people than before.”
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.