US Election 2020: Donald Trump's words inspire extremists, says Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Washington, Oct 09: Hours after police foiled an alleged plot to kidnap her, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in a speech, said that President Donald Trump's words had been a "rallying cry" for extremists.
Whitmer said the Republican president has spent the last seven months of the coronavirus pandemic "denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division."
She also singled out Trump's debate comments, when he didn't condemn white supremacist groups and told one far-right extremist group to "stand back and stand by."
"Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry," Whitmer said. "When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet, encourage or fraternise with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit," she added.
According to reports, there is no indication in the criminal complaint that the men arrested were inspired by the US President. 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 novel coronavirus.
Democrat Joe Biden sought to tie Trump to the plot as well, pointing to the president's tweet earlier this year to "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!". Whitmer's coronavirus response has faced criticism from conservatives, and the GOP-led Michigan Legislature sued her in May to try to invalidate her stay-at-home order and other measures.
As many as six men were charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the governor in reaction to what they viewed as her "uncontrolled power," according to a federal complaint. Separately, seven others were charged in state court under Michigan's anti-terrorism laws for allegedly targeting police and seeking a "civil war."