Former vice president Joe Biden has already announced his plans to pick a female running mate. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that “that governor" should be at the top of his list.

She is Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who seems to be getting under President Trump’s skin as she stands up for her state, which has not been getting adequate help from the federal government during the coronavirus crisis.

While Whitmer was waiting for Washington to approve disaster aid for Michigan, the president attacked her during a call-in interview Thursday on Sean Hannity’s show. His complaint: She was insufficiently obsequious at what is a life-or-death moment for her constituents. Servility is a condition of employment at the White House, of course. But there is something in particular about a woman who refuses to pay him homage that seems to drive Trump around the bend. (See: Pelosi, Nancy.)

Nancy Pelosi says she was raised to be holy, not speaker of the House. Now, as she turns 80 on March 26, she is the most powerful woman in American history. (Shane Alcock/The Washington Post)

Michigan has been one of the hardest-hit states by the pandemic, and its governor has not been shy in calling out the federal government for sending woefully inadequate protective gear for its medical personnel on the front lines.

As my colleague Greg Sargent noted, Whitmer pointed out that one recent delivery of masks, gowns, face shields and gloves from the national strategic stockpile to a hospital in southeast Michigan was, with the exception of the gloves, barely enough to cover the needs of a single workshift at the hospital.

Trump does not like having the federal government’s failures put under that kind of spotlight. “She is a new governor, and it’s not been pleasant,” Trump told Hannity. “We’ve had a big problem with the young — a woman governor. You know who I’m talking about — from Michigan. We don’t like to see the complaints.”

Whitmer fired back on the president’s favorite medium. “Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me,” she tweeted. “I’ve asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it.”

She added in a subsequent tweet that she is “happy to work with the VP! We get along well.” All of which infuriated Trump even more. “Don’t call the woman in Michigan,” he instructed his vice president during his news conference on Friday, adding: “I want them to be appreciative.” But by Saturday morning, he had approved Michigan’s disaster declaration.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave the Democratic response Feb. 4 to President Trump's address to Congress from a high school in Michigan. Here is her speech. (The Washington Post)

There are some other things that Trump might want to learn about Whitmer, besides her name. One is that the former Michigan Senate minority leader was elected in 2018 on the basis of her common sense and pragmatism.

She ran a disciplined and focused campaign, rejecting, for instance, the Medicare-for-all proposals touted by her more liberal opponents. Whitmer rarely mentioned Trump. Her campaign slogan was: “Fix the damn roads.”

What Trump surely does know is that when he won Michigan in 2016, it was by the closest margin of any state in the country. If he cannot keep its 16 electoral votes in his column come November, his road to reelection will grow steeper.

All of which brings us back to why Biden should put Whitmer on his ticket.

There has been some talk that he should abandon his pledge to select a woman as his running mate, and tap New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has been earning high praise for his handling of the crisis. But Cuomo has insisted he doesn’t want the nod. By selecting Whitmer — whose endorsement no doubt boosted the former vice president in his staggering victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the March 10 Michigan primary — Biden could get both a woman and a competent governor.

Former vice president Joe Biden committed to having a woman as his vice presidential candidate while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said it was very likely. (CNN)

As Biden himself pointed out: "Donald Trump could learn a thing or two from Governor Whitmer — speed matters, details matter, and people matter. She’s secured more than 10 million N95 masks, more than 4 million gloves, thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer, and critical equipment for health care providers.”

Something else: After all this is over, voters will remember who put their needs front and center when they were in the fight of their lives. And Trump might, finally, be able to remember “that governor’s” name.

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