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Whitmer: Alleged kidnapping plot akin to ISIS

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer compared the plans of 13 people arrested in an alleged plot to kidnap the governor and put her on trial to those of ISIS during Monday and Tuesday interviews.

Whitmer told ABC's "The View" Tuesday that state and federal officials “worked diligently” to “foil the plot" that court testimony indicated included plans to kidnap Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

“But it’s very clear from the affidavits that it wasn’t simply to kidnap,” she said. “It was to put me on a trial of some sort and then possibly execute me. That’s the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from a group like ISIS.”

Whitmer made a similar comparison to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Monday night and urged people not to casually refer to the group as militia.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke about the alleged kidnapping plot against her during an interview on the The View, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.

“We have to call it for what it is and we have to call out domestic terrorism,” she said.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al-Qaida-inspired group that became known for beheading Christians and other captives and claims religious authority over all Muslims. The six suspects charged by federal authorities with kidnapping were identified as having anti-government and anarchist views.

Whitmer urged “Republicans of good will” to stand up and denounce the groups that had allegedly plotted to kidnap her and Northam.

Republican Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Mike Shirkey quickly denounced violence of any sort against the governor after the alleged plot was revealed last week. But Whitmer's administration has criticized some Republican lawmakers for being present at some of the rallies where the suspects also were present.

“Its so crucial that people of good will on both sides of the aisle stand up and call this out and call it what it is and examine their own behavior, and ask, ‘Have I done anything to contribute to this?’” said Whitmer, arguing people who gave the groups “space” or “encouragement” were complicit with them.

The Democratic governor was asked at one point whether her orders had been too harsh, given numerous protests, the pushback from those arrested in the kidnapping plot and the Michigan Supreme Court's recent 4-3 ruling striking down the 1945 law underpinning her emergency authority.  

Whitmer denied her orders were too harsh and blamed the Supreme Court order on “mental gymnastics” and a “party-line vote.” But part of the Oct. 2 ruling included three Democratic-nominated justices who joined four GOP-nominated justices in ruling that Whitmer was operating outside of a 1976 law when she tried to extend her emergency orders without the approval of the Michigan Legislature.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Whitmer said of her decisions during the pandemic. “Studies have shown we saved thousands of Michigan lives. I sleep at night knowing that what we did saved people in this state.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com