Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor of Michigan, says that the recent domestic terror plots against her are inspired by President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and that he represents the “worst version of America.”
Whitmer was the target of a plan divised by white nationalist militia groups in her state to kidnap, try, and execute her for treason. The FBI managed to thwart the attack earlier this month, but Whitmer says that the influx of threats is unyielding, and that Trump bears the ultimate blame.
“Law-enforcement announced charges against 14 people as part of the plot. As jarring as that was, just over a week later, President Donald Trump traveled to Michigan, and when a crowd chanted ‘Lock her up’ after he mentioned me, he said, ‘Lock them all up,'” Whitmer wrote in an editorial published in The Atlantic on Tuesday.
“I am not surprised. I have watched the president wedge a deeper divide in our country; refuse to denounce white supremacists on a national debate stage; and launch cruel, adolescent attacks on women like Senator Kamala Harris and public-health leaders like Anthony Fauci. And while I won’t let anything distract me from doing my job as governor, I will not stand back and let the president, or anyone else, put my colleagues and fellow Americans in danger without holding him accountable,” the governor said.
Whitmer said that when Trump riles up his extremist base at a campaign rally or on social media, her family and her “see a surge of vicious attacks sent our way.”
Trump has referred to Whitmer as a “dictator” who wants to strip residents of Michigan of their rights – all because she has insisted on implementing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as requiring masks in public spaces.
Whitmer believes Trump knows exactly what he is doing.
“This is no coincidence, and the president knows it. He is sowing division and putting leaders, especially women leaders, at risk. And all because he thinks it will help his reelection,” said the governor. “He is trying to distract Americans from his failure to protect our families and trying to divide us further to win the election. He has taken to Twitter to spread lies and launch cheap insults against those with whom he disagrees. Eight months into the pandemic, he still does not have a plan to protect our frontline workers or rebuild our economy. He has only lies, vitriol, and hate. And as we saw earlier this month, his violent rhetoric puts leaders across the country in danger.”
Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and his lack of a national plan – besides “to spread lies and launch cheap insults” – endangers every American and puts the lives of elected officials at risk.
“Eight months into the pandemic, he still does not have a plan to protect our frontline workers or rebuild our economy. He has only lies, vitriol, and hate. And as we saw earlier this month, his violent rhetoric puts leaders across the country in danger,” said Whitmer.
Trump represents violence and division – vitriol that is no doubt boosted by the complicity of social media platforms.
“We cannot count on President Trump to rebuild America. We cannot expect him to unite us against violence and hate. Fueling the deep divisions within our country is a tactic he has been using for years, often with the help of social-media platforms like Facebook, which domestic terrorists used to organize the plot against me,” she said.
Whitmer recalled that partisanship in the United States has never been as brutish and hateful as it has become under Trump, and that the only hope of healing the wounds from the last four years is to get rid of Trump.
“That is what this election is about. This election is about looking our kids in the eye and proving to them that we did everything in our power to build a stronger, safer, more sustainable America for everyone,” wrote Whitmer. “The past four years have been the worst version of America. Ever since Donald Trump first stepped foot in the White House, we have moved away from the common ideals and values that are supposed to unify us as a country, putting leaders across the country—including me—in danger. This president has failed our country, and it is on all of us to come together to turn things around. We deserve better.”
Seven days until the election.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.