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Thanks for listening to you and me both. You know, this week I also got a chance to sit down with Bethenny Frankel for an interview on her podcast called Just Be.


I was looking forward to talking with Bethenny. She is unapologetically herself. And so we talked about being brave and defying convention and had a lot of laughs along the way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Listen, and subscribe to just be today for my interview and much more available wherever you get your podcasts. You and me both is a production of I Heart radio. I'm Hillary Clinton and this is you and me both where I get to talk to people whose perspective I really want to hear from right now.


Today, that person is Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer is someone whose career I have followed with great interest and admiration. She's a lifelong Michigander. She served in the Michigan State House, was the state Senate minority leader for almost a decade. She is the second woman to serve as governor of Michigan and one of just nine women governors in the U.S.. Just last night, on the heels of another record breaking week for coronavirus cases in Michigan, Governor Wittmer announced new restrictions to contain the virus, including stopping in-person classes at high schools and colleges.


As she rightly pointed out, the situation has never been more dire. We are at the precipice and we need to take some action. This is not the first time she's made headlines for her leadership and taking strong, effective measures during this pandemic, people all over the world followed the story of the white supremacists and militia groups that plotted to kidnap and kill her just last month. I think it's safe to say that Michigan and Governor Wittmer are at the epicenter of some of the biggest issues affecting our country right now.


I'm so glad she could join us in the midst of all of her other responsibilities for this very timely conversation. Hello, Gretchen.


Hi there. How are you, Madam Secretary? Oh, my gosh. All the better for seeing you and for you making time to talk with me today.


Are you kidding me? You're one of my heroes. I'm so glad to be with you.


Well, I really was so looking forward to talking with you. But you should also know that on my podcast, we asked listeners to recommend people that they would like to hear me talk with. And your name was by far at the top of the list. So it's not only a great personal pleasure and really honor to talk to you, but it's something that our listeners have been holding out for. And I am really looking to give you a chance to talk about some of what you've gone through and have done, because, you know, speaking as someone who has been in the political firestorm and been in leadership positions and studied others who have been leaders, I'm incredibly impressed at your thoughtfulness, your courage, your commitment to leading and serving the people of Michigan.


You really are a servant leader, Governor, and that is about the highest compliment I can come up with as we're talking. It's Monday, November 16th. Last night, you held a live briefing and announced that Michigan was again having to put in place new restrictions because of the massive surge in covid cases. What are you seeing in the data and the science that led you to feel compelled to take this step?


Well, one of the things that I think as a nation we're really struggling with is the vacuum of leadership in Washington, D.C. And so it's really fallen to the governors to come up with strategies as individual states. And in the early days, that meant we're competing with one another to get ninety five masks for our nurses and our doctors. We were overwhelmed. We were getting inconsistent and inaccurate information from the White House where we had to correct it. We had to take pains to come up with our own strategies.


And in the midst of all that, I will say I'm grateful that I've got relationships with my fellow governors because there are many people who understand all the different pressures that we are confronting as we make these these hard decisions. We were hit really hard early on in Michigan, right. Detroit was heating up like New Orleans, New York City, Chicago. And being so early on, it was before we knew that there was going to be no national stockpile to help save the day or a national strategy.


And so we were on our own. We took aggressive action and I listened to epidemiologists and public health experts from Michigan, but also nationally recognized experts. And we really crushed our curve. We saved thousands of lives. We mitigated the economic pain that people were confronting and that was being imposed on our businesses. But now here we are in the fall. There still isn't a national strategy, by the way, right now, nine months later, and our covid cases are climbing exponentially.


Part of that is things like other states not taking this seriously, like South Dakota, where they had their big Sturgis motorcycle rally that has just brought culvert and all sorts of Midwest states. Part of it is rallies in swing states like Michigan, where the Trump campaign continued to come and and not wear masks and packed people. And part of it is the fall. You grew up in the Midwest. I know our temperatures are plummeting and we're all going inside.


All of these things converging means we've got covid spreading like wildfire all across the Midwest. And that's why we have to take action is especially important because we're in the midst of hopefully a transition that ultimately will become a real transition.


But there's still isn't that leadership in Washington, D.C., your initial stay at home order back in March led to a political standoff with Republican legislators and your state Supreme Court. And on top of that, there were white supremacists and militia groups that marched on your capitol, threatened you and others at that time and were cheered on by the president.


I can't imagine what it felt like that first time you saw these white supremacists and militia. Members converging on your Capitol, how did how did you respond to that, Governor? So I was over in the Romney building.


So that's named for Mitt Romney's father. Right, who was governor of Michigan? Yes, exactly. A Republican of distinction and a kind which doesn't seem to exist much anymore. It's true.


I always tell people I'm from a mixed household. My dad was a Republican, but he was a Romney Republican, which means he's a Democrat now.


But anyway, I was there in the office building and I remember looking out and it was surprising because there were Confederate flags, which that's not the usual thing at the Capitol in Michigan. We're a Union state, right? I mean, we're proud of the role that we played in the Civil War. We had Nazi symbolism. There were dolls with dark hair hanging from nooses that were depicting me hanging you in effigy, right? Exactly. That's happened to me, by the way.


So I can I can relate sadly to what you went through.


I know you can. I mean, and it culminated right in just a few weeks ago, people chanting the lock her up about me. So I know I know you know this better than anybody, but it was really stunning to see. We were in the midst of the early days of this global pandemic. It was ravaging our state. People were dying. Our hospitals were filled. We were running out of PPE and these groups were coming together. And it was like a Trump rally.


It really was. There's literally a Trump parade float that was there. And it was just really surprising because this virus is it doesn't care what your politics are. He doesn't care who you voted for or where you live. It is a threat to all of us. And so when we saw that and then people showing up with their automatic rifles in the Capitol, they've been many times out on our front lawn at the residence where my teenagers, I've had to explain why I'm getting death threats and what's happening.


But every single time the president has mentioned me has tweeted about me, we see more vitriol, more death threats is contributing to this really dangerous moment that culminated in a kidnapping and murder plot. And just even last night, when I made the statement about we have to tighten some things up to keep people safe. Scott Atlus tweeted that Michiganders should rise up. I mean, it's still continuing even after this election.


Well, Scott, at least for our listeners who don't know, is the neurologist from California who is one of the very few doctors, let alone he's not an epidemiologist or an infectious disease specialist who promotes this idea of herd immunity, let literally millions die. And Trump has listened to him and moved him literally into the White House, where he has issued absolutely false medical assessments. And as you point out, last night after you made your announcement, urged people in Michigan to rise up, protest, protect freedom, all of these slogans that we've come to hear.


Ironically, last night at my house, there was a big crowd of Trump supporters yelling and screaming, using bullhorns to insult me and all kinds of sexist, misogynistic ways, because there's no getting away from the fact that of all the governors that took very quick and restrictive action, you were the one that Trump went after. You were the one that he called that lady and tried to diminish and demean. And as you just said, there were people who, let's be very blunt here, have been influenced by Trump and his form of destructive and dangerous leadership who actually hatched a plot to kidnap and kill you.


Now, many of us followed the story of this plot in the news, but how did you learn about it? What was the experience you had when you were told about this plot and what happened from your perspective?


I think I infuriated Donald Trump early on when I acknowledge that there was no national strategy to combat covid-19. I think I said that back in March, speaking truth to power.


And here we are nine months later.


And they've even given up on having a strategy they don't even try anymore. Right? I mean, they don't even like to talk about covid-19, much less work together to keep people safe. And so from that day forward, the online vitriol, the threats had started in earnest. But as this plot got more pronounced, as it had become. They've taken steps to actually get out, the state police briefed me on what was happening maybe a few weeks before the world found out about it, and I had the opportunity to sit down with my family and talk a little bit about it and to have some pretty hard conversations with my teenage daughters because I didn't want them to come across it or to see it on social media and to be worried.


I wanted them to know. We know this is happening, we're safe, we're OK. But I'll be honest with you, I don't know if I processed it yet. Right. I, I haven't read all of the affidavits when people say I can't believe they did this or that, I generally am not sure what they're talking about because I cannot be steeped in that. I, I have to conserve all of my energy to focus on the work at hand, which is about saving lives in the middle of this pandemic.


And that's really what my mindset has been throughout this experience. We'll be right back.


This is urban philosopher, philanthropist and the host of the Recession Podcast, a production of the Black Effect podcast network and our radio. I'll bring you real conversations about systemic racism, mental health, life on the streets and much more. My guests will include influential figures like Charlamagne God, Dr. Gists and Tony Robbins.


Dr. Martin Luther King said, you know a man or you could say today a person who hasn't done something they're willing to die for isn't fit to live with pretty strong words. But I really believe in my soul that what changes people is when you find something to serve more than yourself.


So join me on the Recession podcast by Jeezy as r e. S the s. S o n podcast. That's right. On the hard radio app, Apple podcast or whatever you prefer your podcast.


Thanks for listening to you and me both. You know, this week I also got a chance to sit down with Bethenny Frankel for an interview on her podcast called Just Be.


I was looking forward to talking with Bethenny. She is unapologetically herself. And so we talked about being brave and defying convention and had a lot of laughs along the way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Listen, and subscribe to just be today for my interview and much more available wherever you get your podcasts. I mean, sometimes you just have to shut out the outside world when you have a real crisis that you're facing as you have now for nine months, you can't get distracted.


Those of us who have followed you, admire you, I think did enough worrying for both you and your colleagues while you could keep compartmentalizing and getting on with your job. But, you know, it raises such terrible, serious questions about where we are as a country.


And if we look at our national picture right now, everybody who is willing to be honest and forthright knows Joe Biden won this election. He is the president elect. Trump is refusing to concede. And no surprise here, he has continued to show a total lack of leadership while covid numbers are rising so dramatically. And I think about some of the great leaders you've had in Michigan. John Dingell was a particular favorite of mine. Of course, I'm a close friend of his wonderful wife now, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.


And he said something that I have gone back to over and over. He said, In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power in trust for the people who elected them. That's exactly what you're doing as such a contrast with Donald Trump, what does power mean to you, especially at this moment?


Well, that's a wonderful question. I'm not sure I have a wonderful answer. I'll just say that in the midst of all of this, I think crisis reveals people's character and what they're really all about. As I look across the country, there are some phenomenal governors on both sides of the aisle stepping up, taking the mantle to keep the people of their state safe. None of us has the perfect response because it's a novel virus and we have to be nimble.


We have to learn as we go. We've got to be quick. We have to act quickly. But I think about governors who have kowtowed to the Trump administration and the incredible cost that the people of those states have paid because of the economic cost, certainly. But the cost in terms of lives lost, in terms of lives forever impacted. And I never knew I never contemplated all the challenges that we would have in twenty twenty. But I thank my lucky stars that I've got a phenomenal team around me, that I was raised to be humble enough to know where my expertise ends and to seek out the smartest people I can find in the midst of this crisis, to have relationships with my fellow governors that we can talk through and troubleshoot and help one another navigate these times.


So I think holding a position that's this powerful, especially when there's got to be so much executive action that takes place, is humbling and it is an incredible amount of responsibility. But I know that the actions we've taken have saved lives. And no matter what happens politically down the road, I will be able to be at peace with the work that we've done in this crisis. And I have colleagues who I don't know how they will be able to sleep at night a few years down the road, and I wouldn't trade places with them for anything.


I agree with you. I think about people who not only at the highest levels of our national government, like the president, the vice president and those who enable them.


But people in your state legislature, your people you served with, Gretchen, people who you knew because you were in the house in Michigan, you were in the state Senate.


I think about the people I serve with who are still there in the US Senate on the Republican side, who are so intimidated, so cowardly, so unwilling to say what I know they know better than to go along with Trump.


What's that like for you dealing with people that you knew personally you served with who just shut down because they're so afraid of whatever this Trump phenomenon is on the right and in the Republican Party right now?


It's so disappointing. I mean, it's more profound than that. But I'm struggling to find the right word. It is stunning to me that anyone would put themselves up for these important leadership positions and then sacrifice their best judgment to coddle someone else's ego or to preserve their own personal interests in a future election. I just I'm not built that way.


And I don't think it's even a good political calculation. I mean, when you think about it, Biden Harris won Michigan. You know that. Your approval rating is very high commendably so because your citizens are seeing what you're trying to do and approving of it, I just don't even get where the political advantage they think they are accruing comes from.


Trump will be gone. I know he's not going to leave the scene. He has to keep feeding his ego and his malignant narcissism will require that. But all these others who have missed this leadership moment, who have sacrificed, frankly, their reputations, their dignity, I don't see how it advantages them.


Yeah, I think to one of the interesting things, and this has been so many leaders who are frustrated because there are no easy solutions, there is a political cost to every decision that is made because we are so polarized right now. There's such deep divisions. It really struck me as I watched the circus. They did an episode and they focused on me and they focused on Brian Kemp in Georgia. And he is getting protests, but he's getting protested because he's made decisions that have contributed to more loss of life.


And so while I think of the protests here and certainly the threats on my life, that's that's a whole new level. And there's a lot to unpack there. As you mentioned, the gender issues are rife, but he is dealing with protests down there. And I think if you're going to make a decision, you know, a lot of people are going to disagree with you.


Don't you want to make the one that is is the right to call it that will save lives? Because, I mean, really mean, why is that so complicated?


I don't know. I don't know. And and especially I think it especially galls me because oftentimes it'll be that side that will lecture everyone else about life. Right. And I think that's particularly troublesome that they're making political decisions and it's costing American lives.


We're taking a quick break. Stay with us. On September 17th, 2009, 24 year old MIT Chris Richardson disappeared without a trace in the woods near Malibu, California.


She had been arrested at a beachside restaurant for failing to pay a tab and taken to the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station. You know, I mean, she's not from that area. And I would hate to wake up to a morning report. Well, lost somewhere to a job that the police released her just after midnight with no car, no cell phone, no money. She doesn't know the area. She's never been in your area. Well, I think she said, Chris, that's what happened.


That's more than just her.


OK, my trees disappeared into the darkness and was never seen alive again. I'm Catherine Townsend, host of the podcast Houngan. We're going to try to find out what really happened to my Chris Richardson School of Humans and I heart radio present. Helen, Season three, listen to hell. And gone on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Kate Berlin. I'm Jaclyn Novak. We're comedians, best friends and consumerist hogs hemorrhaging cash in the wellness world.


That's why we made a podcast, PWG, A Quixotic Quest for Wholeness. Here's a little snippet of us trying out a top dollar massage gun on our muscle manipulation episode.


Press on once, now press the upshot. All right. Here we go, honey. Oh, whoa. It's working. It's working. Do you want to know the story of the guy who created this device?


No, no. The rudest person. I'm sorry. I'm here with this free product.


They say float it out and then go deep about it and then go, oh, the right inner thigh has pain. I repeat, the right inner thigh has pain. Whoa.


The tension in the calves is reaching all time, but we suffer from no ailments. We are looking to heal. For us, salvation lies in the next product, practice or potion. This is our hobby. This is our hele. This is our naked desire for free products. This is poop. That's Pee Double Oge Poop on I Heart Radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.


Well, I know you have you have a lot of important issues on your plate, I just want to wrap with two questions that I've been thinking a lot about. You know, in his victory speech, President elect Biden called for a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed. Now, that is music to my ears and I imagine to yours. And a lot of Americans are eager to begin that healing, but may not think it's possible.


How do you think about that dilemma? What would national healing or even Michigan healing look like to you once we get through these months? We got more good news today about another vaccine. I'm hopeful that by April, May, we're going to see widespread vaccination available. How do you think this healing that we all know we need could go forward? Well, we are in for a couple of hard months here, right? This winter is going to be very difficult, especially in the midst of a transition of leadership in Washington, D.C. But I really do believe that it's important that we seek to understand.


When I ran for governor, I got to all eighty three counties of Michigan. And Michigan's a big state. Yes, it is. But I got into all these three counties because I wanted to connect with people that really understand. And I think that's important. And now more than ever and right now it's harder than ever because of covid and because it's not safe to connect in the usual way. But I do think that that's a big part of it.


I think what Bobby Kennedy said after Martin Luther King was killed that we must seek to understand. And I think that's a really important lesson. We have to see the humanity in one another. And that's why I loved the Joe Biden speech from the Saturday after he was declared the victor. Too. I think it's really important to see the humanity in one another, to seek to understand and to actually find some common ground and set a scorched earth of the last four years.


Amen to that. And finally, how are you and your family planning to spend Thanksgiving this year? Can you share with us what you've got planned?


Well, we're going to zoom with my family. So my my sister lives not far from you. She's in Katonah.


Oh, that's right up the road. I know. Well, that's why I said those people show up again and you want some backup. I'll find my sister. She's even tougher than I am.


But, you know, we're going to do a Zoome with my sister and her grandmother staying in Catona. Usually we'd all be together, but it's just not safe. And I'm discouraging people from getting together. So we'll do Zo and my husband and the girls and I are going to each make a type of Christmas cookies and have a contest to see who wins. Excellent. We got to make it interesting and we'll watch the Lions and hopefully Detroit Lions will win.


Well, I think that sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving. And you usually have a huge crowd. Of course, we're not having it this year, so we're trying to divvy up. But I like the cookie contest. I mean, that's a really good idea. I may I may steal that from you. Well, Gretchen Whitmer, thank you so much for not just talking today. That's a minor piece of thank you and gratitude, but for your leadership, for your example, of the kind of leadership that our country desperately needs right now.


And I wish you and your family the happiest of Thanksgivings and maybe a little bit of a breather from the heavy responsibilities that you are exercising. Thank you so much. Oh, thank you. It's been an honor to be here with you.


You and me both is brought to you by I Heart Radio. We're produced by Julie Soberon and Kathleen Russo with help from Huma Abedin, Nicki, Oscar Florez, Briana Johnson, Nick Merrill, Lauren Peterson, Rob Russo and llona Val Morrow. Our engineer is Zach McNiece. Original music is by fourth grade.


If you like the show, tell someone else about it. You can subscribe to you and me both on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. I wasn't the only one who was eager to hear from Governor Gretchen Whitmer. A lot of our podcast listeners wrote in to suggest having her on the show. And as I told her, that really caught my attention. If you have ideas for guests, send us an email at you and me, both pod at Gmail dot com.


Come back next week. When I talk to three people who have dedicated their lives to something I love food. We'll hear from some mean Nasrat Hosie Andrius and the owner of one of my favorite pizzerias in Troy, New York, Roko DeFazio. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is partnering with I Heart Radio to bring you a brand new podcast series induction. This show brings you back to the induction ceremony for some of the most powerful moments on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stage featuring inspiring speeches direct from the artist themselves, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, both available now with new episodes every Friday on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcast.