Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer accused President Trump of “inciting domestic terrorism” for encouraging his supporters to chant “lock her up” at his rally on Saturday, days after the FBI busted a domestic terror plot to kidnap and potentially kill her.
Whitmer appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday, telling host Chuck Todd that she found Trump’s actions “incredibly disturbing” and “dangerous.”
“It’s incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States — ten days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial, and execute me…ten days after that plot was uncovered — the president is at it again, inspiring and incentivizing and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism,” Whitmer said.
“It is wrong. It has got to end. It is dangerous, not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans,” she said.
Trump, who has frequently targeted Whitmer’s policies to help contain the spread of coronavirus in her state, targeted her again at his rally in Muskegon, Michigan, on Saturday.
“You’ve got to get your governor to open up your state and get your schools open,” he told his supporters.
This prompted the crowd to chant “lock her up” while Trump smiled and said “lock them all up.”
“This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop,” Whitmer tweeted in response to the “lock her up” chants.
One of the governor’s aides, Tori Saylor, also tweeted about the danger of Trump’s rhetoric against Whitmer.
“Every single time the President does this at a rally, the violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media,” Saylor said.
Less than two weeks ago, the FBI foiled a plot by a right-wing militant group to kidnap Whitmer at gun point, with threats to “cap her,” ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Trump and his supporters have frequently riled the nation against science-based guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus and have portrayed those who violated the guidelines as “patriots.” The president has also embraced and encouraged violent far-right groups who are against the racial justice movement and coronavirus lockdowns. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” Trump tweeted in April.
Whitmer on Sunday urged Americans to have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior and rhetoric, asking people to “bring the heat down.”
She noted that even as the president criticized her for coronavirus lockdowns, Michigan has not had a stay-at-home order since the late spring.
“Every moment we are not focused on the fact that there are 220,000 Americans who have died from this virus is good for him,” Whitmer said on Meet The Press. “So in that sense, as he incites additional violence against people who are just trying to save one another’s lives, that’s good for him.”
Lara Trump dismissed her father-in-law’s actions of riling up his supporters against Whitmer as him “having fun” at his rally.
“People are frustrated and look the president was at a rally,” she told CNN on Sunday. “It’s a fun, light atmosphere. Of course, he wasn’t encouraging people to threaten this woman. That’s ridiculous.”
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Whitmer’s office and the Trump campaign for comment.