Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said President Trump’s rhetoric is to blame after authorities busted a militia plot to kidnap her and overthrow the state’s government.
In a Thursday press conference, Whitmer said Trump’s language in the first debate where he told members of the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” was understood by militia groups as a “call to action” rather than a condemnation. The president issued a condemnation of white supremacists, the Proud Boys, and the Ku Klux Klan after critics took issue with his response following the debate.
“Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups, like these two Michigan militia groups. ‘Stand back and stand by,’ he told them. ‘Stand back and stand by.’ Hate groups heard the president’s words, not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action,” Whitmer said. “When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit.”
“So let me say this loud and clear, hatred, bigotry, and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan. If you break the law or conspire to commit heinous acts of violence against anyone, we will find you, we will hold you accountable, and we will bring you to justice,” she continued.
Earlier Thursday, the FBI charged a group of men of taking part in a militia plot to kidnap Whitmer, allegedly incensed by her stringent coronavirus restrictions amid the pandemic.
“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” reads the FBI affidavit. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”
Whitmer said the Justice Department and the FBI collaborated with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to charge 13 men involved in the plot. The men face up to life in prison if they are convicted in the alleged plot.
Days ago, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision that the Democratic governor did not have the power to continue its restrictions under two laws passed in 1976 and 1945, describing the act as an “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution.”
“Accordingly, the executive orders issued by the Governor in response to the COVID-19 pandemic now lack any basis under Michigan law,” the ruling reads.
Author: Anthony Leonardi
Source: Washington Examiner: Gretchen Whitmer accuses Trump of issuing ‘rallying cry’ after FBI thwarts plot to kidnap her