Whitmer meets with government, business leaders on Europe trip

Whitmer meets with government, business leaders on Europe trip

FILE – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke at the SelectUSA Investment Summit on Thursday, May 4, in Oxon Hills, Maryland. Whitmer spent two full days in Europe during the week of 8 May as part of her annual second international business trip. She met with Austrian business leaders, then headed to Latvia to meet President Egils Levits. She called it 'Russian's illegal war' and used her visit to show her support for Ukraine.

Alex Brandon/AP

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's second international trade trip of the year took place this week. She spent two days in Austria, Latvia and met with business and government leaders.

Whitmer spoke to The Associated Press after returning to Michigan, Friday. She said that the international trips were 'an essential part of her job', as she aims to build relationships and secure additional economic opportunities' for Michigan.

In Latvia, Joe Biden, a close ally and second-term Democratic Governor of the United States met with Latvian president Egils Levts and other high ranking officials before visiting Michigan National Guard troops stationed there.

Whitmer stated that Latvia is "Michigan's European allie." The partnership between the state and country has lasted 30 years. Former Gov. Rick Snyder visited the United States in 2018 to unveil a road named Michigan Avenue.

Whitmer used her visit to Latvia to express support for Ukraine, which she called 'Russian illegal war' in a press release following the trip.

Whitmer stated in a statement that it was more important than ever for the United States to stand with its allies to protect democracy around the globe.

These comments are in stark contrast to the ones made by Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis characterized the war as a territorial dispute earlier this year, before retraction. Whitmer told AP it was'sad' to see that these political points were being scored using Kremlin talk points.

She met with executives from AVL list GmbH, a global auto supplier, in Austria. Whitmer stated that the company's North American Headquarters is in Michigan and she talked about future expansion in Michigan.

Whitmer visited Europe for five days in January. She spoke at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, and also visited Norway. According to Whitmer's office, the trip was crucial in securing $400 million in hydrogen facilities in the state, announced by Norwegian green hydrogen company Nel in last week.

Whitmer is often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. However, she has denied any speculations that her overseas trips could be a sign of future ambitions.

She said that the trip was a chance to visit our troops and to promote economic development.