Trump’s words inspire extremists, says Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer – india news


Hours after police foiled an alleged plot to kidnap her, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer argued in a speech Thursday that President Donald Trump’s words had been a “rallying cry” for extremists.

Whitmer, a Democrat, 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 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 fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.”

There’s no indication in the criminal complaint that the men arrested were inspired by Trump. 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 virus.

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.

The arrests and Whitmer’s comments come less than a month before the presidential election in a key battleground state, where recent polls show Biden has a lead.

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.”

Trump criticized Whitmer’s remarks, saying she has done a “terrible job” and should open the state. Her stay-at-home order was lifted months ago, but mask requirements and gathering restrictions remain.

The president tweeted that “my” Justice Department and federal law enforcement had thwarted a dangerous plot against her.

“Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist,” he tweeted before accusing Biden and Democrats of not condemning “looters and mobs that burn down” Democratic-run cities.

“I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence,” Trump said. “Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President!”

Whitmer also called for kindness and empathy during the pandemic and issued a warning to those who threaten violence.

“Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan,” she said. “If you break the law or conspire to commit heinous acts of violence against anyone, we will find you, we will hold you accountable and we will bring you to justice.”

___

This story has been corrected to reflect that Trump said “stand back and stand by,” not “stand up and stand by.”

___

Associated Press writer David Eggert in Lansing, Mich. contributed to this report.

Recent Articles

India should be wary of Chinese mind games

A Hong Kong-based English newspaper has quoted Chinese military sources to claim that China has withdrawn 10,000 troops from its “disputed border with...

Alok Sharma made president of UN climate conference in Glasgow – world news

Alok Sharma, who was appointed to the cabinet role of Business secretary in the Boris Johnson government following the December 2019 election, was...

UK court to deliver judgement on Nirav Modi extradition on Feb 25 – world news

The judgement in the Nirav Modi extradition case will be delivered in the Westminster Magistrates Court on February 25, judge Samuel Goozee announced...

Shocked by Capitol siege, more aides, GOP backers desert Trump – world news

While Donald Trump on Friday said he will not attend US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, the outgoing president’s deputy, vice-president...

Murder probe opens after US police officer dies in Capitol mob attack – world news

A US Capitol Police officer died in the attack on the building by President Donald Trump’s supporters, taking the toll up to five...

Related Stories