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'Lock her up': Donald Trump laughs about plot to kidnap Michigan governor
18 October 2020, 16:47
US President Donald Trump has been criticised for comments he made about a plot to kidnap a governor at an election rally in her state of Michigan.
Speaking in front of a packed crowd in the swing state, Mr Trump called Democrat Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer “dishonest” and smiled as the audience chanted “lock her up”.
The FBI uncovered an extremist plot to allegedly kidnap Ms Whitmer and “try” her for implementing a lockdown in Michigan.
Thirteen people have been charged in relation to the alleged scheme, which the Michigan attorney general said included attempts to “identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them”.
But at a Make America Great Again rally on Saturday night, the US president launched an attack on the governor, saying: “You have got to get your governor to open up your state and get your schools open.”
“The schools have got to be open,” Trump continued, adding “lock them all up”, as the crowd broke into chants of “lock her up”.
The President added: “I guess they said she was threatened and she blamed me, she blamed me and our people were the ones that worked with her people, so let’s see what happens.”
Following the rally, Governor Whitmer tweeted: “This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop.”
This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop. https://t.co/EWkNQx3Ppx— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) October 17, 2020
Speaking on NBC on Sunday, Ms Whitmer said: “It is incredibly disturbing that the President of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap me, put me on trial and execute me.
“10 days after that was uncovered, the President is at it again and inspiring, incentivising and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism.
WATCH: @GovWhitmer says Covid-19 "is a public health crisis. It should not be a partisan moment." #MTP— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 18, 2020
Whitmer: "We should have acted as though we were in a war, but not a war with one another. A war with the virus." pic.twitter.com/UuCGV5UYuA
“It is wrong. It has got to end. 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 goodwill, on both sides of the aisle, need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down. This is the United States of America, we do not tolerate actions like he is giving comfort to and that is why we all have to be in this together.”
At another rally on Saturday night in Wisconsin, few audience members wore masks in a tightly packed crowd, despite a record number of cases reported on Friday.
The state also hit record highs for daily deaths and hospital admissions this past week.
Despite Mr Trump’s own experience with coronavirus, in which he was hospitalised for several days, his administration continues to face criticism for its handling of the pandemic.
On Sunday a tweet from one of the President's top coronavirus advisers was removed by Twitter for claiming masks don’t work to prevent the spread of the virus.