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Democrats condemn Trump’s rhetoric against Michigan governor as allies defend rally

Democrats sharply criticized President Trump Sunday for attacking Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the wake of an alleged militia plot to kidnap her, while Trump campaign figures defended his rhetoric.

Whitmer herself accused the president of “inciting domestic terrorism” for targeting her at a Michigan rally Saturday as the crowd chanted, “Lock her up.”

“It is dangerous, not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans. People of good will on both sides of the aisle need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down,” Whitmer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. “This is the United States of America. We do not tolerate actions like he is giving comfort to. And that’s why we all have to be in this together.”

The governor noted that while the president told supporters to “get your governor to reopen the state,” most of Michigan is currently in its fifth phase of reopening and no stay-at-home order has been in place since spring.

“It’s incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial, and execute me … is at it again … inciting this kind of domestic terrorism,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer accused Trump of creating the climate for the plot at the time of the announcement as well, pointing to his support for armed protests at the state capitol over lockdown measures and his tweet reading “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

Trump responded to Whitmer’s earlier comments by blasting her for not thanking him personally and attacking her handling of the pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also condemned Trump’s rhetoric on ABC’s “This Week.”

“The president has to realize that the words of the president of the United States weigh a ton,” Pelosi said on Sunday. “And in our political dialogue, to inject fear tactics into it, especially a woman governor and her family, is so irresponsible.”

“In all fairness to people who listen to him, people think the president is important and what he says should be adhered to,” Pelosi added. “And so we have this horrible situation.”

Fourteen suspects have been arrested in connection with the alleged plot. State Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has said two of the alleged conspirators are co-founders of the Michigan militia group Wolverine Watchmen. Officials have said the alleged plotters also discussed kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Trump campaign senior aide Jason Miller, meanwhile, said Trump did not regret the rally chant or his attacks on Whitmer.

“I think the fact of the matter is many residents of Michigan are pretty frustrated with the governor [and] they want to see the state open back up,” Miller said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I’m glad that President Trump’s DOJ was able to get these psychopaths and put them away,” he added, “but the fact of the matter is, people in Michigan want to get their state opened back up.”

The president’s daughter-in-law Lara, meanwhile, defended the president’s rhetoric on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“He wasn’t doing anything, I don’t think, to provoke people to threaten this woman at all. He was having fun at a Trump rally, and, quite frankly, there are bigger issues than this right now for everyday Americans,” Lara Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Tags Donald Trump Gretchen Whitmer Jake Tapper Lara Trump Nancy Pelosi

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