Whitmer thanks law enforcement for protecting her family from alleged kidnapping plot
LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer offered deep gratitude to law enforcement officials who stopped an alleged kidnapping plot targeting her.
Whitmer offered prepared remarks from Lansing hours after police and prosecutors disclosed information about the alleged plot by militia members, who apparently were planning to kidnap or kill Whitmer and attack the Michigan Capitol.
Whitmer said she knew the job of governor would be hard when she was elected, “but I’ll be honest, I never could have imagined anything like this.”
She thanked all of the state and federal officials involved in the wide-ranging investigation for protecting herself, her two daughters, her husband and her three step-sons from the “sick and depraved men” who targeted her family.
“My husband and I are eternally grateful to everyone who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our family safe,” she said.
Thirteen men are facing state and federal charges in connection with the plot. Court documents show they conducted surveillance outside Whitmer’s summer residence in northern Michigan, worked to procure $4,000 of explosives and engaged in detailed planning for a kidnapping.
State and federal law enforcement agencies led by the FBI served several search warrants around the state Wednesday, including one in Shiawassee County’s Ovid area. The suspects all were angry about Whitmer’s use of executive orders aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus.
In her remarks Thursday afternoon, Whitmer acknowledged that 2020 has been difficult with the effects of coronavirus. But she said Americans should not be each other’s enemy -- everyone should fight coronavirus instead.
“This should be the moment for national unity, where we all pull together to meet this challenge head-on,” Whitmer said.
She faulted President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the coronavirus pandemic for stoking distrust and fomenting anger, specifically mentioning his “stand back and standby” comment during the first presidential debate aimed at white supremacists and hate groups.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied Whitmer’s contention that Trump supports hate or racism in America.
“President Trump has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate," she said. "Governor Whitmer is sowing division by making these outlandish allegations. America stands united against hate and in support of our federal law enforcement who stopped this plot.”
Whitmer said more difficult days lie ahead before Michigan can declare victory of coronavirus, but she encouraged Michiganders to remain strong.
“I will never stop doing everything in my power to keep you and your families safe,” she said. “You don’t have to agree with me. I do ask one thing. Never forget we are all in this together. Show a little kindness and a lot more empathy. Let’s give one another a little grace. ”
Whitmer again encouraged everyone to wear a face mask in public, practice 6 feet of social distancing, wash hands frequently and look out for their neighbors.
“We are Michiganders. I know we can get through this. We will get through this," she said. “So let’s get through it together.”
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