TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – President Joe Biden shook hands, walked a cherry orchard and bought some cherry pie during Saturday’s visit to Michigan.
Biden remained mostly quiet to reporters on major issues facing Michigan, like infrastructure, climate change and the 2022 midterm elections.
Biden said the country has officially turned the corner on coronavirus, even as vaccination rates slow across the state. Michigan’s single-dose vaccination rate is about 62%, well below the president’s goal of hitting 70% by Independence Day.
The president didn’t take time to stop to see the damage of the widespread flooding that forced Vice President Kamala Harris to cancel her Michigan visit. Biden did meet with Detroit mayor Mike Duggan to talk about federal relief.
Duggan said Biden understands the situation in Detroit and his administration will “move as fast as legally possible on a presidential disaster declaration review.”
In Antrim County, Biden toured a cherry farm with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow. Whitmer said she spoke with Biden about the state’s roads and flood damage, in addition to an ongoing conversation about the race to vaccinate before more COVID variants spread.
The popular summertime county was also the cradle of unfounded and false claims that the 2020 U.S. General Election was stolen. Biden did not address the controversy and instead answered a question about Olympic sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension for using marijuana.
“The rules are the rules. Everybody knows of the rules going in. Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules,” Biden said. “I was really proud of the way she responded.”
Biden said he’s not sure if Russia is behind the recent ransomware attack and that he’s directed “the full resources of the federal government” to investigate.
“The initial thinking was it was not the Russian government, but we’re not sure yet,” Biden said.