President Joe Biden mistakenly called Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) “Jennifer” on Wednesday, an apparent reference to a previous Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, who is now Biden’s energy secretary.
Of course, the two Great Lake State Democrats aren’t that easy to get confused; Granholm finished her tenure as governor eight years before Whitmer took office. (Republican Rick Snyder was governor in the intervening years.)
“Thank you, Jennifer, for what you’ve done,” Biden told Whitmer, after she praised the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan that, among other things, creates a pilot program for a “per mile fee” on drivers.
— Michigan Rising Action (@MIRisingAction) August 11, 2021
A tweet by Michigan Rising Action, a conservative nonprofit, pointed out Biden might have been expected to remember Whitmer’s name as she was a finalist to serve as his running mate — not to mention he named her a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.
The Detroit Free Press noted Whitmer was mistakenly called “Jennifer” in 2018 by her Republican opponent in the governor’s race, Bill Schuette.
“Learn my name,” she demanded at the time.
She did not have a similar response Wednesday after Biden’s error.
Of course, that per-mile charge on motorists is causing at least as much consternation with some as Biden’s memory lapses.
Whitmer has previously sought a 45-cent gas-tax increase, which would have tripled the taxes Michigan drivers pay at the pump. The governor’s support for a mileage tax drew a strong response from Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon.
“Michigan already has among the highest gas taxes in the nation, and if Gov. Whitmer had her way, we would have the highest,” Dixon, a public relations and media professional, said in a statement.
“Now the governor is supporting a fake infrastructure plan that does little for roads and bridges and a lot to grow government’s control over our lives. It’s not surprising Whitmer would support a plan to track how many miles we drive and then tax us accordingly because she loves power,” she said.
“Michiganders have watched her drunk-on-power reign as she closed businesses, barred our children from attending school, and put coronavirus-infected patients in nursing homes, alongside the most vulnerable among us. Of course, Gov. Whitmer would not feel the impact of such a tax because she is driven around in a government vehicle, paid for by taxpayers,” Dixon added.
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Bradley Vasoli is a reporter at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Joe Biden and Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer.