Do It All or Delegate? (with Governor Gretchen Whitmer)

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When Governor Gretchen Whitmer was at the start of her political career, she found herself caring for both her newborn daughter and her mother, who was dying from brain cancer. The choice to become her mother’s primary caregiver as a new legislator, mom, and wife taught her to stay focused on what matters and not get distracted by things that don’t. Sam asks Governor Whitmer how she handles haters, what’s front of mind as we enter the 2024 presidential election season, and why there needs to be more women sports broadcasters.

Follow Gretchen Whitmer online @GovWhitmer on Twitter, @whitmermi on Instagram, and @biggretchwhitmer on TikTok.

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Samantha Bee, Gretchen Whitmer

Samantha Bee  00:21

I spend a lot of time reading and watching and listening to the news. It used to be a huge part of my job like how if you grew up in the 90s, you had to have seen the most recent episode of 90210 to fit in at school the next day. I mean, like, of course, actually, if you were me growing up, it was the Golden Girls. It’s so cool. I know. Anyway, that is ingrained in me forever, because I still check the news constantly. So what’s happening in the world is never really truly far from my mind. And most of the time, it’s all bad, which is why I haven’t really slept past 5am. Since I would say around 2003. I feel like I am reminded of the political stakes of our decisions and our votes every single day because the stakes are so high and everything is tied into them. Our ability as women to make our own medical decisions, our right to a clean planet where we don’t want to check air quality before we leave our homes every morning, the freedom to go anywhere at all without wondering if someone’s going to show up with a gun. Everything is connected everything to who our political leaders are, and it is terrifying. The only thing scarier is that some people just just don’t seem to care at all. A lot of people have just checked out because they think all politicians are the same. Why does it matter who ran in 2016 or 2020? Or who’s running now in 2024? And in a lot of the ways they are right we don’t always love the options. But when they decide to check out they are Sol Sol wrong, which is why I have some serious choice words for people who can’t be bothered to care about the next election who aren’t as distressed as they should be that the frequently indicted Donald Trump is absolutely soaring in the polls. I will go horse trying to get people to care about this. Oh my god, hold your nose and vote for the best of the worst. I mean, sometimes that’s all you can do. This is Choice words. I’m Samantha Bee. My guest today is the current governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer. Governor Whitmer is currently serving her second term and previously served as the Minority Leader of the Michigan State Senate. She is a fierce advocate for abortion rights and truly is exceptional at getting shit done. She makes me excited about the future of the Democratic Party and I know she treats every election like it might be our last. She just launched the fight like hell pack to boost candidates in 2024. And I loved getting to pick her brain today. So take a listen. fight like hell and make good choices/

Samantha Bee  04:28

Oh boy, Governor Whitmer. I am such a huge admirer of yours. Wow, this is a thrill for me.

Gretchen Whitmer  04:36

You’re killing me because I’ve been a longtime fan of yours so.

Samantha Bee  04:40

Oh, my heart is my ego just I mean, it just grew like it just exploded out of my no one can contain me after this. Yeah, you Michigander women are forces to be reckoned with.

Gretchen Whitmer  04:59

Well Aren’t you know, when there’s one strong woman, it gives space for other strong women. So I think we kind of give each other oxygen and it’s good. We feed off of one another’s, like bold leadership.

Samantha Bee  05:14

It’s like a fire, like a, like a beautiful forest fire. I always think if you want something done, you give it to a busy person. And I feel like you’ve said that yourself, perhaps in many different ways.

Gretchen Whitmer  05:30

A million times, if you want something done, ask a busy woman.

Samantha Bee  05:33

Are you a list maker?

Gretchen Whitmer  05:35

Oh, I do. And you know, I found out that while I arise at 5:02, every morning, you get up […]

Samantha Bee  05:44

That’s right, you set your alarm for 5:02. Tell me what the decision making is behind the extra two minutes. It just feels less daunting.

Gretchen Whitmer  05:52

Yeah, it feels like it’s far enough into the five o’clock hour that it’s not 4am. It’s a mind game.

Samantha Bee  05:59

I love it so much. I do get up at five. I do get up in the sometimes, you know, sometimes I’m a 502 person, but I don’t set an alarm. It’s just the body wakes up. Yeah. Do you even need your alarm anymore?

Gretchen Whitmer  06:11

I don’t. But I still said it. Because you know, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail

Samantha Bee  06:16

honor percent. And I am amazed actually that you even have remotely time in your schedule to talk to me. So Oh, boy. Okay. All right. This podcast is really about the decisions and choices that people make. And so we’re going to talk all about that. And we’ll talk about choice writ large, obviously. But I want to say that, you know, we all watch you make such public and such consequential decisions and choices. But is there a choice that you’ve made in your life that maybe we don’t know so much about that has been so impactful for you?

Gretchen Whitmer  06:55

Well, you know, I often talk about the time in my life where I was a sandwich generation, meaning I was simultaneously caring for my newborn daughter, at the same time that my mom was dying from brain cancer. And I often talk about that, as you know, I was forged in the fire. That’s what made me who I am today. It’s why, you know, I don’t get distracted by things that are really important. And I can stay focused on what matters, whether it’s health care, or daycare, right, those sorts of things that I can point to during that time in my life. And that’s why I do what I do. But I think, you know, I made the choice to be the primary caregiver of my mom, even though I was a new legislator, a new mom, a new wife. And throughout that process, we had to make a lot of hard choices that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life, determining having hard conversations with my mom determining what kind of care she wanted, and when she wanted to cease getting care, right. And those are, those are things that when the decision had to be made, ultimately, I was the one who had to because with brain cancer, she would lose her faculties over time. And so I reflect on that as a reminder, it to try to see the humanity in people, but also to get as much information as you can and have conversations and then to make a choice, because not making a choice as making a choice is just the worst, most passive way that you can operate. Right?

Samantha Bee  08:33

How did you know that you could handle all of that? How did you know? Or did you not know? And you’re just dove in? Because you were like, This is? This is what it is?

Gretchen Whitmer  08:43

I didn’t know I those were the cards, we were adults, and I had to do the best job I could play and I’m and I think I had a lot of supports that most women don’t have in that position. You know, I had a lot of advantages that that helped me through that really hard time. And so I always think about being grateful for that, but also not forgetting that. And so that drives how I treat people that drives what I focus on it. It drives, how I conduct myself in public because I know people are watching and it makes a difference.

Samantha Bee  09:18

Right? So you’ve had to make such difficult decisions, like decisions that people live their whole lives avoiding. You know, so, so tough and you feel like this has made you do you feel like this has made you so decisive as a governor because you you have to be.

Gretchen Whitmer  09:38

I do. I you don’t want someone who can’t make a decision in a position of power, right in a position of authority or responsibility because we’re always going to be confronted with circumstances we don’t predict.

Samantha Bee  09:53

Such as a global pandemic, whatever.

Gretchen Whitmer  09:57

Deal yourself or you know, things but my lived experiences have given me thick skin, and the ability to stay focused on what really matters. And so I heard recently that the greatest two attributes a person in this field can have is thick skin and a short memory. And there are a lot of politicians that have thin skin and long memories, and they are dangerous. They have a short memory that is helps me navigate these times. How many times do you?

Samantha Bee  10:35

I’m imagining how many times you’ve had to say it. But how many times have you actually said to people, I’m the governor, you cannot speak to me that way. You actually can’t talk to me that way. How many times have you had to say it?

Gretchen Whitmer  10:47

You know, I bit my tongue. I’ve wanted to say it many times. But you know, I gotta, I gotta get through to the next moment. And I don’t want can’t repel people. But I got lectured by two leaders in the legislature. They were lecturing me on the law. And the irony was, I was literally the only lawyer in the room. I’m not unique. A lot. A lot of women deal with that.

Samantha Bee  11:13

Oh, wow. Yes, yes, we are accustomed to it. Are you with your team? When you are working with your team? Are you? Do you? Are you the type of person like do you enter a meeting already with a decision in mind? Or do you like to build consensus? Do you like to explore? Or does it vary?

Gretchen Whitmer  11:31

I try to keep an open mind. You know, I’m not a epidemiologist or a medical director or a public health official. So going through the pandemic as a very ripe raw example. You know, I just tried to make sure we had the brightest minds in the room. And I always ask for recommendation, I ask a lot of questions. I want a lot of information and facts, so I can make a good decision. But, you know, I move swiftly we have to, you know, in in the, in the moment that we’ve been navigating but so yeah, I asked a lot of questions. Write keep an open mind, I try to always I know, I don’t, I don’t know all the information. I gotta ask you.

Samantha Bee  12:11

I feel like so many of us just observed your leadership during the past. I mean, in general, but as during the pandemic, and just want like, now, thank you for, look, there’s an adult, like, there were so few adults in the room that we could really turn to to go, Oh, I feel like someone’s guiding us through this to the absolute best of their ability and their knowledge. So I have to thank you for that. Because we had very few Northstars especially considering like, you know, at a federal at the federal level, we had none.

Gretchen Whitmer  12:48

I took seriously, you know, the University of Michigan, you know, medical folks that were advising us and, and, you know, I recall that crazy press conference where they were, you know, Oh, can you drink bleach?

Samantha Bee  13:04

Can you drink bleach?

Gretchen Whitmer  13:06

I just scare the heck out of me. And so we were really mindful of trying to make sure we were always giving good, accurate information. And so I appreciate when you say that, because when I’m out and about that, you know, oftentimes people will say, basically the same thing that you just said, and I’m glad to know that people were paying attention and that they made better decisions because we were getting out good information.

Samantha Bee  13:28

Yes. 100%. Do you feel like when you hear people on a national stage debating the merits of drinking bleach? Do you? Did you think to yourself, I am, I am where I’m needed the most? I feel like I could. I can beat that.

Gretchen Whitmer  13:50

Yes. I mean, when you you’re like, think about when I first ran for, you know, any office I’ve held actually I’ve had to survey what the options are. Yeah. And then maybe I can do a better job, you know, and that’s what’s always has propelled me when I ran for the House or the Senator for Governor ultimately. Yeah. So yeah, I when I was looking at some of those examples, that this is an important place for me to be in this moment.

Samantha Bee  14:16

Is that the metric that you have traditionally used when you’ve decided which office to run for at which time you’re like I can, I can, I know I can do that. But better.

Gretchen Whitmer  14:28

I care and I would love to support people who I have great confidence in and I’ve learned enough about myself to know if I if I don’t see someone that is doing the job that you know, it was my job. I’m gonna roll up my sleeves and then jump in.

Samantha Bee  14:43

We’ll be right back with Governor Gretchen Whitmer after this. There is so much like we I just feel like we are facing so much how do you decide now? What gets your attention? And what gets a spot on your legislative agenda? How do you how do you hone in on the things that are most important?

Gretchen Whitmer  18:43

You know I listened to people. It’s one of my one of my strengths is that I’m a good listener. And I think a lot of women are I think we’re kind of socialized in a way in this country at least when I was growing up. And so that’s what keeps me centered on where I’m going to spend my time and energy because when you listen to people and a mom, you meet in the children’s hospital, you know, when I was running the first time I met this woman at the Children’s Hospital. She had a son in the hospital he said you know if I’m elected, what do you want me to do? What can I do that’ll make your life better? And she said I just need you to fix the damn roads. And that shocked me because I thought I’m her child in the hospital. This was what’s front of mine but she hit a pothole, it busted the room on her car she was a whole day didn’t get to visit her child in the hospital the other three at home she had to pay for daycare, right and so when he listened to people it you know it fills your agenda and it also keeps you from going down all the crazy rabbit holes other people want to go down.

Samantha Bee  19:47

Right and people want to take you down crazy rabbit holes like they are very, I mean people respond to your decisions very aggressively. How do you I guess how do you stay steadfast Is that a difficult? Like, is that a meditation? How do you stay steadfast when people are just in your face threatening you doing? Just the levels of aggression? I mean, listen, when you are a woman, and you are front and center, people feel that they can say whatever they want to. They can do whatever they want to, and they have free rein. How do you handle that?

Gretchen Whitmer  20:24

Well, you know, I, like I said, I’ve been through some challenging times in my life. I know, you know, I was often talking sports metaphors. I thought I was gonna be a broadcaster. So good.

Samantha Bee  20:40

Sorry, I have to stop you. I need to know everything about that. You say you are going to be a sports broadcaster?

Gretchen Whitmer  20:46

I love sports? i There were very few women on the news when I was growing up, not just the news, but I mean, like ESPN. And yeah, you know, this is something I’m really passionate about. I went to MSU right down the street from the state capitol and started my my training there and did an internship with the Capitol and changed everything for me.

Samantha Bee  21:07

Really, what was it? What was it that changed that for you? You were like, whoa, whoa, this is actually was there something? So what was the catalyst?

Gretchen Whitmer  21:17

You know, just seeing how government works, how it should work, and why it matters? I think for me, I got so I fell in love with public policy. So and so you’d like back to your question? How do you keep it in focus? Yeah, you know, there’s always a tendency to look 100 yards down the field, right? And you have to you have to know where the goal is. But to get through the day to day, you just got to get the next first down, right. So 1010 yard increments. And so that’s, that’s how I, how I approach big and small problems is an eye on the goal, but what all the different things it’s going to take together.

Samantha Bee  21:57

So like, how do you make something chewable? How do you make something like how do you make a problem that is so untenable, solvable in just like tiny increments?

Gretchen Whitmer  22:07

And that’s helped me. And it’s, I think, it’s very hard to do sometimes. But that’s been a good way for me to to navigate all the challenges of life. Get there.

Samantha Bee  22:20

I’ve honestly feel that this is the first sports metaphor that I’ve ever understood.

Gretchen Whitmer  22:27

Women on ESPN.

Samantha Bee  22:29

Oh, all right. Let’s actually talk about the issue of choice, because that has been a huge part of your legislative agenda in Michigan. And thank you, and thank you for that. How did you? How did you decide to make that just a real focus of your energy? Did you not even give it one second thought? Or was it? Was it a decision to go down that road that you really had to really consider?

Gretchen Whitmer  23:01

You know, I, we in Michigan had the ability to make our own decision about our health care, you know, they’ve erected a lot of barriers over the years, but we felt the fundamental right was protected. And when I was in the legislature, we had a debate, they were changing the law, and I felt compelled to tell my story of being raped when I was in college, it was not premeditated, it was very hard to do and emotional. I, after sharing it, you know a lot there were a lot of tears shed, but all the votes went the same way. You predicted they would go and didn’t change a single vote. And I was so depressed by the next day when I was driving into work. I got so much outreach from, from women and from girls from families who had had a very similar story and were so that I was able to share mine and legitimize the, you know, what happened. And so when, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, I knew, you know, I mean, I think every woman is paying attention to the court knew in the pit of their stomach that a Trump appointee means the end of burrow. Right. And so we started mobilizing and and we got very comfortable with the language before Dobbs even before the draft even came out. Right. And so it wasn’t a question for us. It was, this is a fundamental right, and we are gonna fight like hell to make sure that we protect it. And fortunately, it all turned out to be good politics too, but it was because it was the right thing to do. And because it was personal to me to my daughters to women and girls all across the state.

Samantha Bee  24:42

I really do think that abortion is a winning political issue. And I don’t feel like enough people are treating it as such. Do you sense that?

Gretchen Whitmer  24:52

I do. And I also think that we have done are we not you and me but collectively have done ours? valves a real disservice in calling different procedures by different names, even though they’re all abortion. You know, when you think about it, you know, a couple who wants to have children but can’t and they go through IVF. If you put in, you know, a number of embryos, and then at some point in order to improve the odds that one becomes a baby, they selectively reduce it’s called selective reduction. That’s abortion. Right, right. When a woman you know, has a miscarriage, but it doesn’t completely happen. And they go in for a DNC, that’s an abortion. And so, I feel like we’ve let abortion become a bad word and seemed like a rare thing. And people get a vision in their mind that only applies to certain people, whomever they think those those people are. And, and so I think using the word abortion is really important.

Samantha Bee  25:54

I wholeheartedly agree with you, I could not possibly agree more, because this is these different, these different this different terminology, it allows people to proceed with their life as and have misinformation about their own bodies. Like, I feel like there was a very famous anti abortion person who had to get a DNC to save her life and did not know that she was having an abortion, had no idea and thought of it differently, because of what was happening to her in that moment. It’s so upsetting that we have let other people define all of these procedures when it’s really just women’s health care. That’s vital.

Gretchen Whitmer  26:38

Right? And there’s, you know, it’s a freedom issue. It’s a fundamental right. And I think that’s why you’re seeing whether it’s in Kansas or Wisconsin or Michigan, Kentucky I mean, these are not states that are on the coast, you know, oh, are you it’s a foregone conclusion on what’s going to happen but you see women coming out and that’s why you know, I think it’s still very front center because nothing is secured in this moment in this country when it comes to these fundamental rights.

Samantha Bee  27:11

Would you think that you ever foresee like how many election cycles will it take for us to no longer need to run on reproductive justice or abortion do is it actually never going to go away? I feel like it’s intensifying.

Gretchen Whitmer  27:28

It does feel like it’s intensifying and and it feels like the opponents right are emboldened even though they’ve been handed loss after loss after loss. So I don’t think that we can assume any of the fundamentals so the your freedom to vote and participate in elections is being undermined you know, these are are things that I think I spent most of my life assuming we’re locked in. We didn’t have to worry about this and we 100% do.

Samantha Bee  27:55

Hold that thought more with Governor Gretchen Whitmer after one more break. How do you grapple with really pernicious misinformation? Like, you know, we’re talking about abortion right now. So I’m gonna use that as an example. But it’s just ever it’s in every facet of public life. But just you know, presidential candidates saying like, women are having, you know, ninth abortions in the ninth month, like delivering babies and then murdering them. It’s infanticide. Like, these things are not this is not real. This is not happening. An abortion does not occur in the ninth month of your break. That’s just not it’s not real. And it goes on checked. How do you combat misinformation across your agenda?

Gretchen Whitmer  31:06

It’s hard, and it’s, it’s really scary, to be honest. You know, I’ve heard people say exactly what you just said, you know, oh, well, use of word abortion up until the even the day after delivery. And it’s like, my, my most recent reelection of my opponent said something to the effect about how, you know, the biggest danger to our children is is books, you know, these books that talk about sexuality and libraries that, you know, no one checks out, there’s a huge danger, right? And I just looked at, I said, Are you seriously telling me that our kids should be more afraid of a book than a gun? You know, that books are more dangerous for kids and Gunson. But I think, you know, I do think we’ve got to get, we have to take action as a nation on all the misinformation online and social media that concerns me, we have to make sure that our kids have the training and ability to be come to consumers of information and to analyze that and to, you know, use their deductive reasoning skills i And I worry, you know, I think there’s a lot more that we need to do. But I think those are a couple of important pieces.

Samantha Bee  32:11

I feel like we need a national media literacy campaign. Because I do find like, even in my own life, my own children receive, you know, they’re on Tik Tok, or whatever, and they receive the most ridiculous information. And they think that they’re, you know, they all think they’re the authority on skincare. This is a very benign example. But even the very benign information they’re learning about skincare is wrong. It’s actually just wrong. It’s opposite world thinking. It seems. So it’s just so pervasive. Where do you even begin?

Gretchen Whitmer  32:46

Yeah, I, you know, I think that it’s important that anyone who has a platform that we’re using it to educate and to increase awareness, you know, I went to the Barbie movie finally got to see it. It you know, it was it was great. And I went with my kids, and we had a great time and a great conversation afterward. But you know, is we think about our children and the ability to distill what’s real and seek out sources, but also to consume things that aren’t in line with your thinking, so that they can help you better, you know, analyze information, all those things are important. It’s hard to do. And it’s hard to know what sources you can trust these days.

Samantha Bee  33:33

Yeah. How do you make that decision for yourself? Because you must be reading. I mean, you’re reading the news constantly, you’re completely immersed in the news cycle? How do you kind of parse those things? Do you read? Do you read things that are counterintuitive to you just to know what the arguments are? How much are you able to consume?

Gretchen Whitmer  33:53

I do I actually am I’ve read a lot. I read the Wall Street Journal, as well as the New York Times, you know, I look when I’ve got the TV on, which is not often I’m flipping from, you know, Fox News to CNN and MSNBC, I want to know what everyone’s talking about. But I know a lot of people don’t have that, that not that I got a lot of time but even that amount of time right? A lot of people are just trying to keep their head above water and working a couple of jobs and taking care of families. And so that’s why worry about a being able to have accurate information because they’re making decisions that are going to impact their lives, you know?

Samantha Bee  34:29

I know and everybody gets siloed because it is actually very time It’s time consuming to source things out properly. Anyway. I’m just it’s fine. I’m just suggesting a brand new media literacy campaign this good kind of who’s gonna cost billions it’s fine. I’m sure it’s very easy to get underway.

Gretchen Whitmer  34:49

Civic rights, civic is a part..

Samantha Bee  34:51

Yeah, civics. Speaking of civics, I read that you have a group chat with the other female governors. In the country, can I can I get in on that?

Gretchen Whitmer  35:05

I will not deny it. But it is a delightful source of humor and perspective.

Samantha Bee  35:11

Can you tell me even literally one thing that you talked about on the group chat?

Gretchen Whitmer  35:16

We talked about all sorts of things. So I gotta tell you, this group of women, Democratic governors, they are they are so I’m so lucky to be amongst their ranks and to be able to call them friends. Laura Kelly from Kansas is one of the most conservative and understated people. And she’s also one of the most wickedly funny people I’ve ever met. And conservative when I say like style, not her polisher that her views. But she’s, you know, she’s a Kansa. She’s, she’s not looking to fly above the radar, she just wants to get things done. And I love that.

Samantha Bee  35:51

Do you? Speaking of that? I mean, how do you? I guess, we both Morgan, historically, male dominated fields, you tell this great story about your mom, who was an assistant attorney general in Michigan wearing fuchsia, as her power color, even though she was told not to. And you weren’t to your inauguration in January, I don’t love that we still have to make these conscious decisions about how to how to be impactful, how to stand out how to feel confident, but how do you decide how you’re going to stand out from the crowd? Or do you you just naturally stand out? Because you’re outstanding.

Gretchen Whitmer  36:35

But I think I think like you, right? When you’re one of very few women in a field, you stand out naturally, number one, number two, I think goodness that there are so many amazing women who came before me who kind of made it easier for me to show up as I am. You know, I think in the beginning of my career, I was trying to figure out, what’s the, the, you know, the least controversial or most, you know, sanitized version of myself showing up because I don’t want to, you know, ruffle people’s feathers or whatever. And now that I’m 50, almost two, it’s like, you know what, Hillary Clinton did what she did. So the rest of us could show up as we are. And I thank her for that. It was a massive sacrifice. And you know, and I also was raised by a woman who wore fuchsia to to court in the 1980s.

Samantha Bee  37:25

Are you at in your and I’ll say it, and you probably won’t say it, but I reached my Fuckit years. A couple of years ago, where I just don’t tolerate the same levels of, of, of bullshit. And I’m sure it’s very difficult, because your job is to answer to so many people. But how do you balance those two things?

Gretchen Whitmer  37:51

Well, you know, at the end of the day, I got to do a good job in this role. But I also got to be who I am, I got to be able to sleep at night, and I don’t, so I don’t go looking for a fight. But I don’t back down from one either. No one’s gonna threaten me or, you know, and change my behavior. I’m in the same year, as you are. I say, I often like to say KCMA, right, the kiss my second test, or like, you know what? I mean? Yeah, I’m doing this job. And most people appreciate that it showed in the election. And if you don’t get I’m still gonna do the best job I can for you with a smile on my face.

Samantha Bee  38:33

How do you I mean, how do you reflect on people who, given the times we’re living in make the choice not to vote in elections? How do you how do you talk to those people? I actually, I think it’s very difficult to pull kind of reticent citizens into the political process. How do you do that?

Gretchen Whitmer  38:59

My own start with asking why, you know, why aren’t you participating? First for many people, they just think politics is, you know, yeah, right. They don’t know, right? It’s just, it’s everyone’s just yelling at each other. It doesn’t matter. You know, that’s one thing that some people don’t participate because they literally have two jobs and a family friend raise and they can’t physically get to a polling place, which is why making it easier for people to vote is so important. But I have to I always start with why because generally, you can connect something to someone’s life that government touches. I mean, from the minute you turn on your tap water to brush your teeth, to whether or not your alarm went off at 502 When you set it because the utility company’s doing their job or traveling the roads to drive your child up at a state school. You know, I mean, government touches everyone’s lives and but it’s got to be personal and that’s why I think asking why is the most important way to start that conversation.

Samantha Bee  39:59

Right? I mean, you just launched a pack. So you are, we’re all looking at the landscape of the next huge election cycle, which I think is going to be as always a circus but perhaps more so than ever with the Donald Trump and his various indictments coming down the pike. But how do you reconcile the fact that he pulls so highly among Republican voters? What in the world are we facing in the next election cycle? I can’t even I feel actually, I feel overwhelmed by it.

Gretchen Whitmer  40:35

I think it’s really scary. You know, I think it’s when you watch what’s happening on that primary. There’s not I mean, there’s a couple people that are, you know, talking about these indictments and pushing back on him. But yeah, most of the people that are pulling the highest or, you know, trying to out Trump, Trump, and it that’s really scary to me that in a normal time, if your opponent had a whiff of an indictment, that would be the death knell Yeah. And his numbers continue to improve and, and it’s, it’s really disturbing in Michigan, I can tell you that. The Republican Party is very fractured. They’ve really struggled. There are the it’s led now by total, you know, Trump followers. And so the, the normal Republicans or the, you know, the people that you identify as Republican, but you know, maybe don’t know, but aren’t all the way over independent side yet, are bloody I think, trying to figure out where to go. It’s a bizarre time. And it’s scary, because the stakes are just continued to be so high.

Samantha Bee  41:39

The stakes could not be they are so high, and they just keep rising. I feel. Okay, I’m gonna wrap it up soon. Because I know you’re incredibly busy human being but I have to Kate, how does? How does. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, chill? What is your key? Do you ever take a moment to yourself? What does your time off look like? And how do you how do you give yourself a break from all of this? Or do you ever?

Gretchen Whitmer  42:09

Well, I have kids and I have dogs and and all of them bring me a lot of joy. Mostly these days, sometimes little stress, but you know. So we try to get outside I think being outside for me is very calming, and so right. The more time I can spend walking, or or just being outside with my family or dogs and makes me very happy.

Samantha Bee  42:35

I feel like there’s something so magical about children in the sense that they will disabuse you of any notion that you are a governor or a TV host. They don’t care at all.

Gretchen Whitmer  42:48

You know, I just signed so we, I just signed a law that gives the LGBTQ community full civil rights in Michigan, and my daughter is a gay woman. And so I was texting with her because she had come out a while ago, and I text her when I say I’m going to sign the bill, would you like to be there? And she said, Absolutely. And I said, How do you want me to refer to you? This is all text message. How do you want me to refer to you as a lesbian as a gay woman as a member of the community. And her text back to me was lol Gretchen. So this is my kid calling me graduate. So they call me graduated. I’ve messed something up. And he says, LOL Gretchen I am a gay woman. And I said, Okay, got it. Thanks, gay woman. And she texted back. You’re welcome non community member and like, it was just hilarious. But to your point. Oh my god, yes. You can’t get full yourself.

Samantha Bee  43:39

They will burst your bubble in a hot second. Well, this was just an absolute pleasure. And thank you for carving time out of your day. And I’m so happy to see your face and just dab a moment to talk to you. Thank you very meaningful to me.

Gretchen Whitmer  43:57

I think you’re amazing. And I gotta tell you, my I loved your show so much. And the Blazers and the tennis shoes. Were just You were always rocking it.

Samantha Bee  44:06

So thank you so much. What Blazers we both have we each shine in a blazer.

Gretchen Whitmer  44:12

It’s true. It’s it’s good armor.

Samantha Bee  44:15

Yes, it is. Alright, thank you so much.

Samantha Bee  44:27

That was governor Gretchen Whitmer. And I had no choice but to look up one thing. She said growing up, she wanted to be a sportscaster on ESPN and I realized I didn’t actually know when women started doing that. Turns out a woman named Gail Gardner became the first weekly female sports anchor on a major network in 1987. Go Gail. Anyway, thank you so much to Governor Whitmer for joining me and good news. There’s more choice words with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like a rapid fire round of trivia questions based off my recent interview with Judy Blume. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts.

CREDITS  45:24

Thank you for listening to Choice Words which was created by and is hosted by me. We’re a production of Lemonada Media, Kathyrn Barnes, […] and Kryssy Pease produce our show. Our mix is by James Barber. Steve Nelson is the vice president of weekly content. Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittles Wachs and I are executive producers. Our theme was composed by […] with help from Johnny Vince Evans . Special thanks to Kristen Everman, Claire Jones, Ivan Kuraev and Rachel Neil. You can find me at @Iamsambee on Twitter and at @realsambee on Instagram. Follow Choice Words wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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