It’s women’s empowerment, (insert expletive).
It turns out Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s hot mic quip of “it’s Shark Week, mother *******,” had a bit more to do with strong women than predators of the deep or even the political landscape.
Whitmer told Buzzfeed’s News O’Clock podcast Thursday that she was making a reference to a debate preparation technique ahead of the 2020 Democratic National Convention when she was caught off-guard and on camera.
In a now-viral video posted on Twitter by The Recount, Whitmer was heard saying, “It’s not just Shark Week, it’s Shark Week, mother *******,” while waiting to go live on Monday.
Shark Week is summer TV programming on the Discovery cable network with hours upon hours of shows related to sharks. It wrapped over the weekend and the DNC, with hours and hours of programming related to politicians, started Monday.
More: Whitmer’s Shark Week hot mic moment memorialized by Michigan companies with matching merch
More: Whitmer mouths expletive in ‘hot mic’ moment before DNC convention speech
But Whitmer told Buzzfeed the phrase stems from a debate coach who once told her to put a smiley face at the top of her paper when at a podium because “the happy warrior wins.”
She got a better idea, she told Buzzfeed, from a comedian who opened for Kevin Hart once and talked about how comfortable women are discussing menstruation.
“Where women used to be demure, now if a woman is talking about menstruation she might say, ‘Well, it’s Shark Week, mother*******’,'” Whitmer told Buzzfeed. “It’s funny and it’s about women’s empowerment, and it makes me smile, so I would write ‘It’s Shark Week’ on top of my paper.”
Of course, Whitmer talked about a lot more than the hot mic moment during the podcast.
The recording covered the presidential election, her potential role on a presidential cabinet, the Flint water crisis, the novel coronavirus and more.
You can hear the full podcast here: