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Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan : 'Hope, optimism, determination' after Biden's inauguration

This photo with her family just minutes before joe biden took the oath of office. Our political reporter rick alvin talked with the governor just about an hour ago about her role and what it was like to have this intimate connection to history governor you had a front row seat to a big bit of history in washington. D.C give me your first blush impressions of this inauguration. Well, you know it was an honor to be on the presidential inaugural committee uh. President biden asked me to serve in that capacity. I think we were able to honor the traditions of an american inauguration and people keep people safe in the midst of a pandemic. That has been made even more concerning because of the domestic terrorism that we saw two weeks ago here at the nation’s capital, but also to give a platform for this historic moment where vice president harris took her oath. Where president biden gave a speech about in america. United and started the hard work of trying to bring this country together to rally against our our common enemy covid to get our economy back up and running, and i think it was a success befitting our american traditions. When you think about this moment, i mean it was a different type of inauguration, but yet it had a lot of focus and there was a lot of intensity there. Today, in a city that was protected by tens of thousands of national guardsmen and other law enforcement officials, what was the feel, as you were there, on the west front of the capitol? This is the fourth inauguration that i’ve been to, and it was different than anything i’ve ever seen, and certainly i’ve talked to people who’ve been to many more than i had who were remarking the same thing, and yet the ability to see kamal harris take her oath Of office and to be sitting with my two daughters, as that happened, was a moment that i will never forget and where it was um, really a a remarkable thing to listen to joe biden’s speech, focusing on the very real challenges that he is inheriting, but also Laying a vision where we can create a opportunity in america with opportunity for all.

I think that this it felt very different, and yet it honored the traditions we’re used to, and so it was comforting in that way, and i i left with the feeling of great hope and optimism and determination. The president talked repeatedly about unity about coming together about working together to face a cascade of crises, but the question that has to be going through the minds of so many in this country is: how does that unity come about when, in just two weeks ago, we Saw some of the real divisions in our country and you have experienced first hand here in the state of michigan the sides that have clashed back and forth. Is that a reality and if it’s a reality, how do we get to it? I think it’s very realistic, and i think that it’s actually a goal that we must all redouble our efforts toward and that’s, not just office holders that’s community leaders, that is leaders in industry in the private sector. We saw a real threat to our democracy play out in the nation’s capital. Just two weeks ago. We in michigan have seen this play out over the course of 10 months, since it first happened at our capitol on um. You know ultimately was a plot to to kidnap me and murder me. These are things are all related who the people that are at the top have a responsibility to bring us together, not foment division and hate we’re.

Seeing a dramatic change in that regard. Right now. So it starts with joe biden, i know it’s something he’s committed to he’s made his career about that. I think it extends to leaders in the private sector who are stepping up now, including the manufacturing association. I think there every one of us can make a contribution toward that end and it benefits every one of us if we do, and so now is the time for us to recognize, we are americans first before we are partisans before we are individuals, we owe it To one another, to um, call on our better angels and and seek to find common ground, and i know that that’s something that president biden and vice president harris are going to live every single day as the new leaders of our nation and even as those calls For unity go out, you need to go no further than social media and someday. We can have the broader conversation about social media, but you need to go no further than that to see that there still is division out there and there are some people who seemingly want to come about. You traveling to washington dc, to go to the inauguration and of about a thousand comments that just was. If people have just last month, been being told to stay at home or only have two families mixed, then why is it okay for the governor to go to a big event where there are people from all over the place? Well, anyone who watched would have seen that we were spaced out, we were outside and we were masked up, so that is how we can live and and enjoy some important aspects of life and stay safe.

I have been following the same directives. I’Ve asked everyone else to: i can’t stand those people that have one rule for others and a different one for themselves. I have abided by these precautions, but also recognize that as the governor of a state who an important state that played a an important role in this inauguration having been invited and having made a decision uh very close to when, when i had to to come out Here i know that this is a moment, that’s really important for our state and a relationship with a white house. A very constructive close relationship is something that nurses the benefit of the people of our state. We saw that with john engler and george w bush. We saw that with jim blanchard and bill clinton. This is something that it was an honor to be and – and i have followed all the protocols and i encourage people to do so as well governor. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

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