Michigan governor to give Democratic response to Trump State of the Union address

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deliver Democrats' official response to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE's State of the Union address on Feb. 4, congressional leaders announced Friday.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Buttigieg sounds alarm after Sanders wins Nevada Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Schumer cites security, DHS ban in questioning TSA use of TikTok Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-N.Y.) also said that Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarDemocrats call for Twitter, Facebook to take down Pelosi video posted by Trump El Paso Walmart shooting suspect charged under federal hate crime law The Hill's Morning Report - Icy moments between Trump, Pelosi mark national address MORE (D-Texas) will deliver the Spanish-language version.
 
Both Whitmer and Escobar were first elected to their respective offices in 2018.
 
Whitmer also represents what's expected to be a major battleground in the 2020 elections.
 
"She’s a forward-looking leader who is laser-focused on solving problems for everyday Michiganders and is uniquely qualified to deliver Democrats’ message of progress for all Americans," Pelosi said in a statement.
 
"Whether it's pledging to 'Fix the Damn Roads' or investing in climate solutions, Governor Whitmer's vision for the future is exactly what this country needs, and I'm thrilled she is giving the Democratic response," Schumer added.
 
Escobar represents a safely Democratic El Paso-area district and serves as one of the co-representatives to leadership for the 2018 freshman class.
 
Whitmer defeated her GOP opponent by 10 points in 2018, two years after Trump narrowly won Michigan by less than one point.
 
She made infrastructure a key part of her campaign platform, but so far her proposal to fund fixing roads and bridges by raising the gas tax has not gained traction in the Michigan legislature. Whitmer is scheduled to deliver her State of the State address before lawmakers next week and is likely to offer more details on her plans.

House Democrats are aiming to introduce their own infrastructure plan as soon as next week, after attempts to work with Trump on the issue collapsed under the threat of impeachment.

It's unclear whether the Senate trial over the two articles of impeachment passed by the House will be over by the time Trump delivers his State of the Union address. The president's defense team is expected to offer opening arguments into early next week, after which senators would decide if they want to hear from more witnesses or move to acquit the president.
 
This year will be the second in a row that Democratic leaders have tapped someone based outside of Washington to deliver the State of the Union response.
 
Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic leader of the Georgia General Assembly who narrowly lost a race for Georgia governor in 2018, delivered last year's official Democratic response.