Gretchen Whitmer lashed out at Donald Trump on Sunday for inciting domestic terrorism after he encouraged a rally crowd in Michigan to chant ‘lock her up’ over her state-wide handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The chants and criticism of Whitmer also came a week after a failed kidnapping plot was revealed against the Michigan governor.
‘It’s incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial, and execute me … is at it again … inciting this kind of domestic terrorism,’ Whitmer told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Sunday morning.
Whitmer demanded that ‘people of good will on both sides of the aisle’ call out the president’s words and ‘bring the heat down.’
‘It is dangerous, not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere,’ Whitmer said.
The Democratic governor has come under fire from President Trump and his supporters in her state for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic – including maintaining lockdowns in Michigan to prevent the spread of the virus.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer accused President Donald Trump on Sunday of ‘incentivizing domestic terrorism’ just days after a plot to kidnap and execute her was foiled
‘It’s incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial, and execute me … is at it again … inciting this kind of domestic terrorism,’ Whitmer told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ host Chuck Todd (left)
Trump criticized Whitmer’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan during his rally in the state Saturday night
Trump’s comments prompted the crowd to chant ‘lock her up’
At the rally in the swing state on Saturday, Trump hammered Whitmer for keeping the state locked down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
‘You got to get your governor to open up your state, okay?’ he told the crowd of mainly maskless supporters. ‘And get your schools open.’
The crowd cheered in response and only got louder when Trump said: ‘Hopefully you’ll be sending her packing pretty soon.’
The event erupted into repeated ‘lock her up’ chants, which Trump brushed off and added, ‘lock them all up!’
Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump defended the president and his rally crowd during an interview with CNN Sunday morning, calling the ordeal ‘fun.’
‘There are issues at hand here that are bigger than just keeping everybody locked down,’ Lara said of people chanting against the governor’s handling of the pandemic. ‘So, I think people are frustrated.’
‘And, look, the president was at a rally. It’s a fun, light atmosphere. Of course, he wasn’t encouraging people to threaten this woman. That’s ridiculous,’ she said.
Whitmer told NBC News on Sunday morning: ‘I’m not gonna get distracted by attacks from the White House or a Supreme Court here in the state that is undermining my work.’
‘If you’re tired of lockdowns or you’re tired of wearing masks or you wish you were in church this morning,’ Whitmer continued, ‘it is time for change in this country.’
‘[The] Trump virus response is the worst in the globe, I mean in the world,’ she said.
Whitmer also criticized Michigan’s MAGA fans and Trump on Saturday for the chorus of ‘lock her up’ chants, saying that rhetoric has endangered her family.
She unleashed her criticisms on Twitter, while Trump spoke before a large crowd at a campaign rally in Muskegon, Michigan.
It came just one week after the FBI intervened in a nefarious kidnapping plot.
‘This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans,’ she wrote. ‘It needs to stop’
Donald Trump’s daugher-in-law and campaign senior advisor Lara Trump told CNN on Sunday that the rally was ‘fun’ and not ‘threatening’ to Whitmer
Whitmer: ‘This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans’
Just last week, the FBI foiled a kidnapping plot orchestrated by a group of militiamen. The men charged are right-wing extremists who plotted to kidnap Whitmer at her vacation home in Michigan.
They wanted to put her on trial for ‘treason’ in a safe house in Wisconsin. They also discussed ‘grabbing her’ and called her a ‘b***h’ in recorded conversations that an informant supplied to the feds.
Most recently, authorities arrested Brian Higgins, 51, from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and charged him with material support of an act of terrorism.
That charge carries a 20-year prison sentence.
He is among 14 men who have been charged in two separate indictments – one by the FBI and one by Michigan’s Attorney General – over their plot to kidnap Whitmer and generally overthrow governments.
The men are being described by prosecutors as part of the ‘boogaloo’ movement – an organization of agitators who are predominantly right-wing.
Brian Higgins, 51, from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, was charged with material support of an act of terrorism
Six men have been charged with conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer. They are Ty Garbin, Adam Fox, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta and Barry Croft.
Higgins was charged by the Michigan AG’s office along with Paul Bellar, 21, Shawn Fix, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, Michael Null, 38, William Null, 38, Pete Musico, 42, and Joseph Morrison, 42.
All fourteen men are now in custody awaiting court appearances. They have not yet entered pleas.
The alleged plot began with a meeting where the men discussed forming their own ‘self-sufficient’ society in early June.
‘At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the US Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer,’ the FBI affidavit claimed.
The men then tried to recruit members of the Michigan militia group to help, the affidavit claims.
Trump has been a large proponent of the anti-lockdown movement that sparked this year as states implemented stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.
He’s been critical of Whitmer, a Democrat whose coronavirus restrictions started in March and continued into autumn.
‘The Governor of Michigan should give a little and put out the fire,’ Trump tweeted in May. ‘These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.’
Just one day before, anti-lockdown protesters arrived to the Michigan State Capitol building with firearms and donned militia gear.
Two of men at the protest, William and Michael Null, were among the militiamen arrested on the botched kidnapping plot.
On October 8, Trump shared another series of disparaging tweets towards Whitmer regarding her lockdown policies.
Donald Trump on Thursday night attacked Gretchen Whitmer, in response to her blaming him for stoking extremism
The president felt that she should have said thank you to him for the work his agencies did to thwart the plot
Trump urged Whitmer to roll back her pandemic precautions and reopen Michigan fully
‘Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities. The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan,’ he wrote.
‘My Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement announced today that they foiled a dangerous plot against the Governor of Michigan. Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist—while Biden and Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs that burn down Democrat run cities.
‘I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence. Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President! Governor Whitmer—open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!
The next day, Whitmer told Good Morning America‘s George Stephanopoulos that the language used by Trump and his supporters was ‘dangerous.’
‘Even the president last night in his tweet storm won’t stop attacking me,’ she said.
‘I think that it’s creating a very dangerous situation – not just for me but for people in leadership roles who are trying to save lives all across this country.’
Whitmer (pictured): ‘I think that it’s creating a very dangerous situation – not just for me but for people in leadership roles who are trying to save lives all across this country’