At an event, Republican challenger Tudor Dixon said: “It’s sad that Gretchen will tie your hands, put a gun to your head and ask if you’re ready to speak. For a man so worried about being kidnapped Gretchen Whitmer must be good at taking corporate hostages and holding it for ransom.”
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Dixon’s line drew applause and laughter, according to a video posted online reporters presentShe spoke in front of a background that read “Michigan Family United,” a group that says it advocates for the state’s “family-friendly agenda.”
At a separate event Friday, Dixon said that when Whitmer recently appeared at a Detroit auto show with President Biden, her facial expression seemed to say, “I’d rather be kidnapped by the FBI.” CNN reports.
after, she added“I think when you’re being attacked every day, you have to be a little bit flippant about things – we can still have fun.”
Dixon made the remarks while former President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway were on the campaign trail. The former president, who supported Dixon ahead of the August primary, will hold a rally in the state with Dixon and other candidates in October. 1.
Maeve Coyle, a spokeswoman for Whitmer’s campaign a statement“Threats of violence…not a joke,” adding that “the fact that Tudor Dixon thought it was a joke shows that she is absolutely unfit for public office.”
The comments come amid growing concerns among Democrats that Republican rhetoric is fueling threats of political violence, especially after a court ordered a search of Trump’s Florida residence for classified government documents he kept there , targeting federal officials.
Even before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 1. Michigan’s top government office was replaced by armed protesters on Jan. 6, 2021, when Congress proved that Biden won the presidential election.
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In April 2020, the Michigan State Capitol was stormed by gun-toting protesters who expressed hope that the state would lift safety measures in place during the pandemic. “A handful of them, dressed in camouflage and with semi-automatic rifles slung over their shoulders, ominously watched elected officials at work in the corridor above the Senate,” The New York Times reported.
Less than six months later, the FBI charged six men with planning to kidnap Whitmer and several others with plans to attack law enforcement officers, overthrow the government and spark a civil war. One of the group, Adam Fox, spoke of the need for “200 men” to storm the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, and take hostages, including Whitmer, according to prosecutors. Fox said they would try Whitmer on “treason charges” before the November election, they said.
Fox and another defendant, Barry Croft Jr., were convicted by a federal jury on two counts of conspiracy, one related to the kidnapping scheme and the other related to the acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction. These people face life in prison.
At the time, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Sherkey (right) condemned the suspect on Twitter, writing: “A threat to our Governor is a threat to all of us.”
He added: “We condemn those who plot against her and our government. They are not patriots.”
A spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association called Dixon’s comments Friday “dangerous.” He added that the remarks were “completely inconsistent with the role of Michigan’s governor.”