Breaking: Whitmer talked to Trump about Detroit jobs announcement

Gretchen Whitmer (left) and Donald Trump (right)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told the Advance on Tuesday morning that the “historic Detroit jobs announcement” she’ll be at in an hour is something that President Donald Trump mentioned in his remarks to governors gathered at the White House Monday.

But the thing is, the president doesn’t know what that announcement is.

Whitmer also declined to say in the telephone interview what the project is, but she, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans are slated to reveal it at noon at the mayor’s office.

So here’s what happened, Whitmer said. She was at the White House over the weekend for the Governors’ Ball and was seated right next to Trump. So they had plenty of time to talk about the Great Lakes, tariffs, General Motors, economic development and more.

“He was critically observing General Motors [for job cuts] and I had simply acknowledged that we were going to have some good news here in Michigan. And he asked, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘I’m not at liberty to discuss it,'” Whitmer recalled said with a laugh.

Then at the Monday breakfast meeting titled the “2019 White House Business Session with Our Nation’s Governors,” Trump mentioned there will be some “very good news coming up soon” in Michigan.

“So he had alluded [on Monday] to something that I had alluded to,” Whitmer told the Advance. “… That’s why I didn’t tell him anything at dinner, ’cause I thought he might go and, you know, talk about it. I’m glad I didn’t tell him anything.”

Detroit | Susan J. Demas

At the state dinner, Trump complimented the group of governors.

“This has been a — really, a great couple of days. We’ve had a lot of fun together. And it’s been, you know, very special,” he said. “We’ve gotten to know each other. We’ve gotten to like each other, in almost all cases. Let’s see — one or two cases. Every case, I would say. Every single case.”

In the meeting with governors, Trump also slammed NAFTA and its impact on states like Michigan.

“I’ve long said that NAFTA is the worst trade deal that anyone has ever signed … this deal will bring it back,” Trump said, adding that his trade deal would open Canada and Mexico to farmers.

The Advance will have more from the interview in a future report.

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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