James Craig makes Fox News appearance ahead of expected retirement announcement

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who is expected to retire Monday amid plans to run for governor in 2022, surfaced on Fox News Saturday, where he didn't address his political future but focused on his law enforcement efforts.

On Friday, news broke of his upcoming retirement and his intentions to run for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in next year's gubernatorial race. 

Craig appeared on Jeanine Pirro's show Saturday night. The host didn't ask the chief about his plans.

"I know that there are bigger things in your future," Pirro told him at the end of the interview. "There's no question."

"Oh yes," Craig responded.

During the interview, Pirro praised the 64-year-old chief who was first appointed in July 2013 for his work in Detroit, saying other cities had violent demonstrations against police.

"Your community is not out of control," Pirro said. "Am I wrong?”

"You are absolutely right," Craig responded. "They’re not out of control."

Craig said his department had worked to partner with the community and activists.

"You can’t wait for something bad to happen," he said, adding later, "We had strong relationships here."

The chief also criticized U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, at one point.

"These toxic words do nothing but undermine the work the men and women do," Craig said after mentioning her name.

Last month, Tlaib tweeted that policing in the United States is "intentionally racist" and "can't be reformed." It's unclear if Craig was referencing those remarks.

Michigan Republicans have been looking for a top tier candidate to challenge Whitmer in 2022. The former state lawmaker defeated then-Attorney General Bill Schuette in 2018 by 9 percentage points to win her first term in office.

The chief has previously acknowledged he has discussed a potential candidacy with both state and national Republican officials. 

Former U.S. Senate candidate John James, a businessman from Farmington Hills, Kevin Rinke, whose family has run automobile dealerships in Metro Detroit, and conservative radio host Tudor Dixon of Norton Shores are also said to be contemplating campaigns. Garrett Soldano of Mattawan, who organized opposition to Whitmer's COVID-19 restrictions, announced his candidacy on April 28.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

Staff Writers George Hunter, Nolan Finley and Christine Ferretti contributed.