DUCK A LA GRETCH: Gov. Whitmer Dances Around NBC’s ‘Genocide’ Question

April 14th, 2024 11:07 PM

During the Gaza portion of their interview on NBC’s Meet The Press, Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer (MI) ducked and danced in order to avoid answering any of the politically-fraught questions, including whether she agrees with the belief of some that what is happening in Gaza is a “genocide”.

Watch Whitmer dance around both the Gaza question and on whether she thinks Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza might cost him the election, as aired on NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday, April 14th, 2024:

KRISTEN WELKER: Let's talk about what is happening in the Middle East. Approximately 60% of Michigan voters disapprove of President Biden's handling of the war in Gaza. Your state, obviously, has the largest Arab-American population in the country. Less than 20% of Arab-Americans nationally say that they will vote to re-elect President Biden. Do you think this issue, President Biden's handling of the war in the Middle East could cost him the state of Michigan? 

GRETCHEN WHITMER: I think that the state of Michigan is always going to be a close race no matter what- under what scenario. I will share though, as I've had conversations with people both in my Jewish community and in the Arab-American and Muslim and Palestinian communities, that a lot of people are hurting right now. A lot of people are one degree of separation from someone who has lost their lives whether it was on October 7th or is in- the war in Gaza. And so I'm trying to keep an open dialogue to stay focused on how we support these beautiful, diverse communities here in Michigan, and I'm hoping for peace, but obviously after the events of the last 24 hours there is a lot that is evolving here, and I am glad to see that our president said he remains -- we have an ironclad commitment to the security of Israel. 

WELKER: Some Democrats, including from your state, are calling the war in Gaza a genocide. Would you go that far? Do you believe that what is happening inside Gaza is a genocide? 

WHITMER: I think that it's heartbreaking to see the loss of so many innocent lives, children every day that this war continues to be prosecuted and that's why as governor, as Commander-in-Chief of the Michigan National Guard, I’m  watching this very closely and doing what I can to support all of these communities here in Michigan.

WELKER: But you don't go that far to use that term genocide?

WHITMER: I'm not going to weigh in where I know that a lot of these terms are used to inflame and divide us. I’m going to stay focused on doing- being productive and hoping that we can have some peace very soon.

The Gaza questions are not unfounded, given both the abundance of correspondents parachuting into Dearborn and reporting doom for Biden, and the hand wringing over the “Uncommitted” vote ahead of Michigan’s Democratic primary (which garnered over 100,000 votes). Additionally, Whitmer’s name often comes up in post-Biden Democrat presidential discussions.

Whitmer’s responses are quite telling here. First, she demurs on whether Gaza will cost Biden the election outright in a lengthy, focus grouped non-answer that ends with a meek statement of support of Israel. Welker reminds us, yet again, that the first and purest victim of any calamity is the electoral prospects of President Joe Biden.

Then, the Gaza question. Whitmer must have known that it was coming, hence the first crafted response. Having expended her talking point, Whitmer goes to the non-responsive shutdown of the question. Welker did not take a third pass, going instead to a question on Trump’s upcoming New York City trial. 

The question of whether or not what is happening in Gaza is a “genocide” (it isn’t) should be easy to respond one way or the other- whether you believe there is or there isn’t. Whitmer’s craven nonresponse here is as revealing as Welker’s willful failure to extract an answer.