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President Trump tweets on kidnapping plot, criticizes Gov. Whitmer

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

President Donald Trump slammed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on social media Thursday night, hours after authorities revealed a plot to kidnap and harm the Democratic governor.

Trump said that instead of thanking him for federal authorities foiling the plot against her, she had called him a white supremacist. Trump issued a series of tweets after law enforcement officials announced they had thwarted a plot to violently overthrow the government as well as kidnap Whitmer.

After the announcement, Whitmer criticized the president for not doing enough to condemn hate groups in the country.

"I do not tolerate any extreme violence," Trump tweeted. "Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President!"

During a Thursday afternoon news conference, Whitmer who has frequently clashed with Trump, mentioned the president's comments at the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 when Trump told the Proud Boys group to "stand back and stand by."

"Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, a call to action," Whitmer said. "When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.”

Trump issued a thread of three tweets after 9 p.m. Thursday before an appearance on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News.

"Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job," Trump tweeted. "She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities.

"The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan. My Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement announced today that they foiled a dangerous plot against the governor of Michigan.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, left, and President Donald Trump

"Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist ..." Trump tweeted.

Along with federal authorities, state and local law enforcement officials were also involved in uncovering the plot against Whitmer.

After the tweets, Trump also criticized the governor during an appearance on Hannity's show. Instead of thanking him, Trump said Whitmer "does her little political act and she keeps her state closed."

Trump also falsely tied school and church closures to Whitmer. Schools decide for themselves whether to have in-person instruction in Michigan. Churches have been exempt from many COVID-19 restrictions in the state, and many have been holding worship services.

Whitmer responded to Trump on Twitter, saying he "clearly didn’t watch my speech earlier."

"If you’re as tired of this divisive rhetoric as I am, there’s something we can do about it," Whitmer added, sharing a link to website that helps people register to vote.

The Republican president has repeatedly tweeted positive remarks about protests against Whitmer's COVID-19 restrictions. Some of the individuals charged in the plot Thursday have attended the demonstrations.

In April, Trump tweeted, "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"

In May, he added that Whitmer should "give a little" and "put out the fire" after hundreds of protesters rallied at Michigan's Capitol.

cmauger@detroitnews.com