Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took aim at the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday night during her Democratic National Convention speech, accusing the president of fighting his "fellow Americans" instead of the virus.
"Over the past few months, we learned what’s essential: rising to the challenge, not denying it. We’ve learned who is essential, too. Not just the wealthiest among us. Not a president who fights his fellow Americans rather than fight the virus that’s killing us and our economy," she said. "It’s the people who put their own health at risk to care for the rest of us. They are the MVPs."
Whitmer also drew a contrast between Trump and the Obama administration's response to the near-collapse of the auto industry in Michigan, claiming that "a million jobs were at stake" when then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden "saved the auto industry."
"President Obama and Vice President Biden didn’t waste time blaming anybody else or shirking their responsibility," she said.
"And wouldn’t you know, just a few months ago, as our nation began battling COVID-19, auto workers across Michigan sprang into action," she added. "They started making protective equipment for doctors and nurses on the frontlines."
Whitmer called democracy a "team sport," saying it's crucial the country rallies together to "build our economy back better."
The first-time governor of the key battleground state, who was one Biden's vice presidential short-list, endorsed free COVID-19 testing; universal access to a safe vaccine; and the resources for kids and educators to "get safely back to school."
"With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House, we will," she said. "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will lead by example. Science, not politics or ego, will drive their decisions. They know: the health of our people goes hand-in-hand with the strength of our economy."
Laura Cox, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, slammed Whitmer's speech as a partisan display.
"Governor Whitmer's partisan colors were on full display tonight," she tweeted. "Whether it be failing to apply for FEMA relief or implementing a nursing home policy that resulted in 33% of our state’s COVID-19 deaths Whitmer has outright failed Michigan."
Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, beating then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by a margin of less than 1% of the vote.