President Trump tweeted Thursday night about the “terrible job” that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is doing leading Michigan, the same day that a plot by a militia group to kidnap the Democratic leader and attack the state capitol building was stopped and the alleged perpetrators arrested.
Trump, who also remarked on the governor’s lack of “thank you” for action by his Department of Justice and law enforcement, had not commented until evening on Thursday’s arrests of 13 individuals in a militia whose actions some Americans said amounted to domestic terrorism.
“Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state [for COVID-19 protections] for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities,” the president tweeted. “The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan. My Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement announced today that they foiled a dangerous plot against the Governor 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…”
He continued: “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! Governor Whitmer—open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!”
Earlier in the day, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller condemned the governor, who had tied Trump’s race rhetoric to the plot in earlier televised remarks. Miller suggested Whitmer “wakes up everyday with such hatred in her heart” for Trump.
Whitmer told CNN Thursday night that she’s asked the White House and Republicans in her state to reduce the level of inflammatory rhetoric that she said helped spark the alleged plot.
Whitmer put major restrictions on personal movement throughout the state and on the economy to slow coronavirus cases, although many of those limits have been lifted. The Michigan Supreme Court last week said a 1945 law used as the foundation for many of the governor’s orders is unconstitutional. In April, protesters and militia gathered at the state capitol for a rally, gridlocking the streets to call for Whitmer to lift the stay-at-home order. Michigan has reported 147,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,194 deaths.
One of the believed leaders of the “Wolverine Watchmen” group said he needed 200 men to storm the state capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including the governor, according to the FBI. He said he wanted to try Whitmer for “treason” and would execute the plan before the Nov. 3 election, the government said. The group later shifted to targeting the governor’s vacation home, the FBI said.
Just hours after the plot was revealed, some state Republican lawmakers participated in a new anti-Whitmer rally at the capitol.
Whitmer tweeted a response directly to the president Thursday night.