Gov. Whitmer Uses Press Conference on Foiled Kidnapping Plot to Attack Trump
Governor says president is complicit with 'hate groups'
Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference following the arrest of several men allegedly involved in a plot to kidnap her.
But Whitmer used the opportunity to accuse President Donald Trump of being "complicit" in the kidnapping involving such "hate groups" plotting to abduct her.
The arrest of 16 people connected to the plot was announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Michigan earlier in the day.
The suspects involved "conducted coordinated surveillance" on Whitmer's vacation residence, and one "even inspected the underside of an M-31 highway bridge for places to seat an explosive" to distract the police, according to the Department of Justice's news release.
Reports say the group allegedly discussed purchasing a TASER to use during the kidnapping.
Whitmer expressed gratitude to law enforcement for stopping the plot, despite months earlier slashing millions of dollars from the state's police, prisons, and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budgets in support of the radical-left "defund the police" movement.
She then took aim at Trump in an attempt to link his rhetoric to the alleged crime.
The Chicago Tribune reported:
"There's no indication in the criminal complaint that the men arrested were inspired by Trump. Authorities also have not publicly said whether the men were angry about Whitmer's coronavirus orders, which sharply curtailed businesses and individuals in an effort to slow the spread of the [corona]virus."
Footage later emerged of one suspect, Brandon Caserta, blasting Trump as "a tyrant" and "enemy" while sitting in a room with an anarchist flag in the background.
Wow! This is big. Brandon Caserta, one of the ringleaders of the group of men arrested for a plot where the group planned to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, hated President Trump too!— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 8, 2020
"Trump is not your friend dude"
He says Trump is "a tyrant" & calls President Trump an "enemy". pic.twitter.com/T5paEeTkiJ
But Whitmer ignored this, and pointed Trump telling the Proud Boys — who claim they condemn white supremacy, to "stand back and stand by.
The governor also claimed Trump "refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups," despite the President disavowing them multiple times.
"Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry," she continued.
"When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit."
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded to Whitmer's remarks:
"President Trump has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate. Governor Whitmer is sowing division by making these outlandish allegations."
"America stands united against hate and in support of our federal law enforcement who stopped this plot."
Democrat Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also attacked Trump following the arrests:
"We can no longer afford in this nation to have our elected leaders like the president of the United States sending not just winks and nods — and I hear it frequently called a dog whistle," she told CNN.
"It's not a dog whistle to these folks; it's literally a command to action for domestic terrorists."