Whitmer calls sentencing of kidnap plotters ‘just,’ urges against violent rhetoric

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Lansing, Mich.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who was the target of a 2020 kidnapping plot that was thwarted by law enforcement, said the prison sentences for two of the leaders of the plan were “just” and called on both parties to tame violent threats and hateful rhetoric.

Whitmer, who was recently elected to a second term as Michigan governor, told CNN on the day of her inauguration that political violence from either side of the aisle was “unacceptable.”

“Whether it is someone harassing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or Congressman Fred Upton here in Michigan, or me, or our attorney general, or secretary of state, it’s unacceptable,” Whitmer told CNN. “But I do think it’s important that people on both sides of the aisle, who care more about our democracy than their political agenda, stand up and take it on.”

Two of the leaders of the plot to kidnap and kill Whitmer were sentenced last week to 19 years and 16 years in prison, respectively. Thirteen people were charged in the conspiracy.

Whitmer in the CNN interview also reiterated that she has grown irritated about the coverage of the plot to kidnap and kill her. She stressed that the group was planning to “assassinate me” but pointed out that the plan has been covered “as a kidnapping plot.”

She put that in contrast to the man who was arrested near Kavanaugh’s house and charged by the Justice Department with attempting or threatening to kidnap or murder a Supreme Court justice.

“There was one person who showed up on, you know, on a Supreme Court justice’s lawn and turned himself in, and it was covered as an assassination attempt,” Whitmer said. “And so I think that when you look at the facts of both of those, and you see how differently they’re covered, I do, you know, have concern about the language that we use, especially when women are a target as opposed to men.”

Whitmer admitted that she wasn’t “unfazed” in the aftermath of the assassination plot and said she wasn’t sure that she would be able to secure a second and final term as Michigan governor.

But Whitmer defeated her Republican opponent, Tudor Dixon, handily in November, winning 55 percent of the vote. Democrats in her state also won control in the legislature. Whitmer, who will now face a term limit as governor, did not speculate on what she would do after her time in office is up.

“I do not have plans to run for anything other than to spend the next four years serving this state,” Whitmer said.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh democrats Fred Upton Governor Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping Michigan Whitmer

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