DETROIT (AP) – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday that President Donald Trump was inciting “internal terrorism” after “locking” his chants at a rally in the state the night before.
Whitmer told NBC’s Meet the Press that the rhetoric was “incredibly disturbing” just over a week after authorities announced they had thwarted an alleged plot to kidnap the Democratic governor.
“The president is on it again and inspiring, stimulating and inciting this kind of internal terrorism,”
At a rally in Muskegon on Saturday evening Trump called on supporters to urge Whitmer to reopen the country after the restrictions on COVID-19. When the crowd began chanting “lock her up,” Trump added, “Lock them all.”
Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s statements were “irresponsible” and accused him of injecting fear tactics.
Several Republican and Trump officials appeared on Sunday news programs in defense of the president.
“He did nothing, I don’t think he provoked people to threaten this woman at all. He was having fun at a Trump rally, and frankly, there are more important issues right now than there are for everyday Americans, “said Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and senior campaign adviser, in The State of the Union. “
Democrats have been looking to link Trump to the alleged plot against Whitmer, citing the president’s tweet earlier this year, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” after Whitmer restricted personal movement and the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Michigan – especially the Detroit area – was badly affected early in the pandemic. Since then, many of the restrictions have been lifted.
Authorities say members of two anti-government paramilitary groups was involved in planning Whitmer’s abduction, although some were charged under federal law and others under state law. Six men, led by Adam Fox of Michigan III%, have been charged in federal court with conspiracy to kidnap her. Eight others believed to be members or collaborators of a group called Werewolf Guardians have been indicted in state court on charges, including providing material support for terrorist acts.
Some of the Werewolf Guards have been accused of planning other violent crimes, such as storming the Capitol building in Michigan and attacking law enforcement.