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Reports emerge of secret meeting between Biden and Gov. Whitmer as he prepares to announce VP pick

Gretchen Whitmer traveled to Delaware last weekend to meet with Joe Biden marking the first known in-person meeting the presumed Democratic nominee has held with a potential running mate.

The Michigan governor met with Biden in his home state on Sunday, two high ranking Michigan Democrats told the Associated Press.

Michigan, which Whitmer has represented for less than one term, is a battleground state.

Biden has been narrowing the field for months and is expected to announce this week who he will run with on the presidential ticket in November after putting off making a decision public for weeks.

The former vice president has vowed to make a woman his No. 2, and there have been pushes from within the party from his to also choose a woman of color for the spot, especially in the midst of months-long nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

Biden is vastly popular among the black community.

Whitmer is one of the many on the short list of possible running mates, including Senator Kamala Harris and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice – both black women who were floated in reports last week as top contenders.

Flight records show a chartered plane left Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport in Michigan for Delaware Coastal Airport at 5:33 p.m. last Sunday and returned at 11:16 p.m.

The governor’s office declined to confirm or deny the trip.

‘We don’t discuss her personal schedule,’ spokeswoman for Whitmer Tiffany Brown said.

Biden’s campaign also declined to comment on the trip.

After Biden pledged to select a woman earlier this year, his began conducting several months of expansive research, interviews and background checks on potential candidates.

Other than Harris and Rice, the presumed candidate has also considered Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and California Representative Karen Bass, among others.

Biden is facing calls to select a Black woman to acknowledge their crucial role in Democratic politics and in response to the nation’s reckoning with systemic racism.

Whitmer has sought to address racism and racial inequity. In April, she created a task force to address the pandemic’s racial disparities and later proposed police reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death. On Wednesday – days after visiting Biden – she declared racism a public health crisis, created an advisory council of Black leaders and required implicit bias training for all state employees.

If Whitmer is chosen to join the ticket and Biden wins, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II would become the country’s only Black governor.

Biden and Whitmer formed a bond after he campaigned for her in the 2018 gubernatorial election. She is a co-chair on his campaign.

Her profile has grown since delivering the Democrats’ response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and especially amid the pandemic. She has taken aggressive steps to curb the coronavirus in a state that was a hot spot nationally early on and – after she criticized the federal response – has drawn criticism from Trump, who in March urged Vice President Mike Pence not to call ‘the woman in Michigan.’

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