Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that attacks lobbed at her by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign after authorities announced they foiled a plot to kidnap her “tells you everything you need to know” about the difference between the President and Joe Biden.
A federal criminal complaint unveiled earlier Thursday said that 13 people were arrested in the kidnapping scheme aimed at Whitmer, a Democrat. The alleged plan included plans to overthrow several state governments that the suspects “believe are violating the US Constitution,” including the government of Michigan and Whitmer.
Following the announcement by federal and state officials, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller lambasted the governor, who had tied Trump’s rhetoric to the plot in earlier televised remarks, saying she “wakes up everyday with such hatred in her heart” for Trump.
“You know, the fact that after a plot to kidnap and to kill me, this is what they come out with. They start attacking me, as opposed to what good, decent people would do is to check in and say, ‘Are you OK?’ – which is what (Democratic presidential nominee) Joe Biden did,” Whitmer told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “Out Front.”
“I think that tells you everything that’s at stake in this election,” she said. “It tells you everything you need to know about the character of the two people on this ballot that we have to choose from in a few weeks.”
Trump slammed Whitmer later Thursday in a series of tweets, falsely claiming she called him a “White Supremacist” in her remarks, complaining that she did not thank him and saying she’s doing a “terrible job” at governing.
“Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities,” he wrote, urging her in another tweet to “open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!”
Whitmer said that she’s asked the White House and Republicans in her state to decrease the level of inflammatory rhetoric they put out that she said helped spark the alleged plot.
“We know every time that this White House identifies me or takes a shot at me, we see an increase in rhetoric online, violent rhetoric, and so there’s always a connection and certainly it’s something that we’ve been watching. But this took it to a whole new level,” the governor said.
She continued: “I have raised this very issue with this White House and asked them to bring the heat down. I have asked leaders, Republican leaders in the state – let’s bring the heat down.”
Whitmer has been the target of multiple death threats in light of her coronavirus response efforts and decision to issue stay-at-home orders. In April, protesters and militia gathered at the state Capitol for a rally, gridlocking the streets to call for Whitmer to lift her stay-at-home order.
Trump and other Republicans had repeatedly attacked her for the measures, with the President saying on Twitter earlier this year that residents should “liberate” the state.
CNN’s Christina Carrega, Veronica Stracqualursi and Josh Campbell contributed to this report.