President TrumpDonald TrumpClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight Why not a Manchin-DeSantis ticket for 2024? MORE on Tuesday lashed out at Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerWhitmer leading possible GOP challengers in Michigan governor race: poll Whitmer isolating after husband's positive COVID-19 test Seven most vulnerable governors facing reelection in 2022 MORE (D) during a rally in her home state, triggering a "lock her up" chant and arguing that the men accused of planning to kidnap her were entitled to a presumption of innocence.
Trump blasted Whitmer at length during remarks to supporters in Lansing, railing against the restrictions she imposed earlier in the year intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus. At the first mention of the governor, the crowd broke into a chant of "lock her up."
Trump smirked and looked on silently before adding: "See, I don’t comment on that because every time if I make just a little bit of a nod, they say, 'the president led them.' "
Trump then added: "I don't have to lead you."
Trump in a recent "60 Minutes" interview denied ever calling for Whitmer to be locked up, despite responding to a similar chant at a Michigan rally earlier this month by saying "lock them all up."
The president has sparred with Whitmer and other governors throughout the pandemic, complaining about restrictions that have limited the size of gatherings and hindered some businesses. But his attacks on the Michigan governor have been especially notable in the wake of charges against multiple individuals who allegedly plotted to kidnap the governor.
Whitmer has accused Trump of being "complicit" in fanning the flames of extremism, and she has said that she and her family receive increased threats whenever the president targets her.
But Trump on Tuesday bemoaned that Whitmer did not seem appreciative that it was federal agents who stopped the plan to abduct her, and even questioned how significant the plot against her was.
"I'm the one, it was our people that helped her out with her problem. I mean, we'll have to see if it's a problem, right? People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem maybe it wasn't," Trump said.
"It was our people — my people, our people — that helped her out," he continued. "And then she blamed me for it. She blamed me. And it was our people that helped her. I don't get it. How did you put her there."
Trump is hoping to hold on to Michigan in next week's election after winning the state by just a few thousand votes in 2016. But polls show Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head David Weil: Wrong man, wrong place, wrong time Biden's voting rights gamble prompts second-guessing MORE with a steady lead. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted last week showed Biden up 9 percentage points, while a Fox News poll conducted the week before showed Biden up 12 points.