Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a brief statement this afternoon, addressing the plots to kidnap her and attack the Capitol in Lansing.
Whitmer said she hoped the “sick and depraved men” will be brought to justice. The governor then pivoted to the fight against COVID-19, calling for a “moment of national unity.”
“Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry.” — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
“None of us has faced a challenge like COVID-19. Not in our lifetimes,” Whitmer said. “We’re not one another’s enemy. This virus is our enemy.”
She also explicitly criticized President Donald Trump, calling out comments he made in the first presidential debate failing to denounce white supremacists and, when prompted, telling a specific fringe 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.”
Armed right-wing militia groups have been commonplace on the Capitol grounds this year, protesting Whitmer’s pandemic response and potential firearm regulations. The governor has been praised but also deeply criticized for putting major restrictions on personal movement throughout the state and on the economy, although many of those limits have been lifted.
Whitmer acknowledged that her pandemic-related executive orders – which were struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court last week – have been difficult. But she says they’ve saved countless lives, and calls on Michiganders to take the coronavirus seriously and to “show a little kindness and empathy.”