Report: Gretchen Whitmer Rumors Spark Palace Intrigue Questions After Disastrous Biden Debate Performance

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Long before Joe Biden inadvertently proved his critics right with his disastrous presidential debate performance Thursday night, rumors have swirled and overtures have been made by powerful Democrats who have made clear to their donor/consultant classes that they were willing to step up to the plate in an, ahem, emergency situation, if you catch my meaning.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom, of course, has been the most high-profile in this endeavor, shamefully playing coy about it in public and rising to Biden's defense while sharpening his knives behind closed doors, even reportedly putting an unofficial national campaign apparatus in place in as early as mid-2022 in a stealth kickoff of sorts for his shadow presidential campaign.


READ MORE: 2024 Stage Being Set for Possible Kamala/Newsom Battle as Rumors Swirl About Biden’s Intentions


But so, too, has Michigan Gov. Gretchen "Lockdown" Whitmer, as my colleague Bob Hoge noted Sunday in a write-up on how Whitmer - who is Biden's campaign co-chair - allegedly had "advance teams" in Washington, DC "weeks ago," presumably to put out feelers about a presidential run with in-the-know types.

With that "emergency situation" mentioned above seemingly arriving after Thursday, more information is coming to light about Whitmer's alleged behind-the-scenes machinations. The latest comes via a Monday story indicating she'd talked a senior Biden campaign official Friday to reaffirm her support and to claim she wasn't happy that people were floating her as a replacement:

When Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer telephoned a senior official with President Biden’s campaign on Friday night, she wanted to convey a clear message: She hated the way her name was being floated as a replacement for Biden and she wasn’t behind the chatter.

[...]

Whitmer, recognizing as much, disavowed the Draft Gretch chatter. She used the call to reiterate her commitment and willingness to help the president but also voiced her concern about how much more difficult the campaign would be now for Biden, I’m told by a person familiar with the call.

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The kicker is that during that same call, Whitmer allegedly told campaign chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon that Michigan was likely no longer in play for Biden after the debate:

Even more revealing is how word of the call reached me: from someone close to a potential 2028 Whitmer rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. This person said Whitmer had phoned O’Malley Dillon with more of an unambiguous SOS: to relay that Michigan, in the wake of the debate, was no longer winnable for Biden.

Like Newsom, Whitmer doesn't want to be seen as the one being disloyal to Biden and taking advantage at a time when Democrats on the surface at least are putting on a very public (and pathetic) show of "rallying around" Biden in the aftermath of his nightmarish performance. Accordingly, she has already denied the report, issuing a statement just hours after its publication:

"I am proud to support Joe Biden as our nominee and I am behind him 100% in the fight to defeat Donald Trump," Whitmer said in a statement Monday. "Not only do I believe Joe can win Michigan, I know he can because he’s got the receipts: he’s lowered health care costs, brought back manufacturing jobs and is committed to restoring the reproductive freedom women lost under Donald Trump."

In fairness to Whitmer, this information about what was supposedly said on the call did come from the camp of a possible 2028 rival (Newsom?). That being said, denials about future presidential ambitions almost always ring hollow to me, and remind me of how often Hillary Clinton said in the past that she wouldn't run for president and then did just that - twice. 

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Once their name gets floated, it's like a drug for some of these people, who no doubt want to keep being told how they can rescue the nation from the grips of another Trump presidency.

Whatever the case may be, the palace intrigue surrounding Biden's performance is inject-into-my-veins type stuff, and I suspect this is only the tip of the iceberg.

As always, stay tuned.


Related: Troubling Post-Debate Moment With Joe and Jill Biden and Another Handler Has People Talking

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