Last week we reported on the kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). An extremist militia group had plans to take Whitmer from her vacation home and transport her to a remote location in Wisconsin to "stand trial" for actions they believe violated the Constitution, such as her strict coronavirus lockdowns. They also reportedly had plans to target Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), but, thankfully, authorities stepped in and foiled the group's plans.
Both Whitmer and Northam blamed President Trump for the threats against them. Whitmer accused Trump for encouraging hate groups with his recent debate rhetoric, which she says was interpreted "as a rallying cry, as a call to action." Trump was frustrated to hear Whitmer's remarks, especially, he argued, when it was his FBI that foiled the kidnapping conspirators.
"And she blamed me!...And our people were the ones that worked with her people, so let’s see what happens," Trump said at his rally in Muskegon, Michigan this weekend. "Let’s see what happens."
"President Trump has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany added in a statement. "Governor Whitmer, and now Governor Northam, are sowing division by making these outlandish allegations."
Michiganders are still upset with Gov. Whitmer's draconian COVID regulations. So much so that at the president's weekend rally, his supporters revisited a familiar chant: "Lock her up!"
ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel on Monday whether that kind of rhetoric was appropriate, given the circumstances.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Trump’s rhetoric “put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger.”— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 18, 2020
Pressed on Trump’s rhetoric by @GStephanopoulos, McDaniel defends the president and criticizes Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic. https://t.co/BApZ5tX9ij pic.twitter.com/IUS6IjMUgV
"First of all, the president and his FBI foiled this plot," McDaniel countered. "And I think Gov. Whitmer is really inappropriate to try and lay blame at the president. These were sick individuals, there was no political affiliation. They were attacking the capital, as well. We're glad she's safe, her family is safe."
When Stephanopoulos pressed her again about the "lock her up" chant, McDaniel, who is a Michigan mom, explained that residents are frustrated that Gov. Whitmer is keeping them from living their normal lives.
"Because of her locking down our state," McDaniel said. "My kids aren't in school. She has locked us down. Open it up."
"That's what they're talking about. They're not threatening our governor," the RNC chair continued. "And she's taking it way too far once again."