After news broke this week of a foiled plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow the state’s government, pundits and politicians soon began tying the alleged conspirators to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
Even Whitmer joined in on the criticism in her first remarks after the federal charges were announced — and Trump fired back at her, lashing out at the Democrat while confirming his opposition to any “extreme violence,” as reported by the Daily Caller.
“Those who spread fear”
The governor, who has been engaged in a protracted political battle with the president over coronavirus lockdowns, made her public remarks during a news conference on Thursday, according to the New York Post.
“Our head of state has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger, and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division,” she claimed.
Whitmer attempted to tie Trump to the Wolverine Watchmen, a militia group believed to be responsible for hatching the kidnapping plot. Specifically, she said he “stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups” and told members of the Proud Boys group to “stand back and stand by” when questioned about white supremacy during the first presidential debate.
“Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action,” the governor added.
Of course, Trump later clarified his debate remarks when confronted by White House reporters.
“I don’t know who they are,” he said of the Proud Boys. “I can only say they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work.”
“They have to stand down”
In a series of tweets a short time after Whitmer’s remarks, the president knocked her for doing a “terrible job” as governor and rebuked her for associating him with white supremacy. He also accused her of failing to adequately condemn left-wing violence and extremism.
“She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities,” Trump went on to tweet. “The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People 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.”
A total of 13 people have been brought up on either state or federal charges thus far as part of the alleged conspiracy against Whitmer and other state officials.
For any voters who might still be unclear on his position, Trump made it crystal clear: “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!”