Thirteen people have been arrested for conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. What happened?
Six men were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping yesterday after the FBI uncovered an elaborate plot to overthrow the government by abducting Gretchen Whitmer. Separately, seven others were charged for planning to storm the Michigan state capitol building.
- Some of the men were members of the Wolverine Watchmen, a militia group which believes that “a well-armed citizenry is the best form of Homeland Security and can better deter crime, invasion, terrorism, and tyranny.”
- The men allegedly planned to abduct Whitmer and hold a “treason trial” for her, who they believed was a “‘tyrant,” while others stormed the capitol building and take hostages. They hoped to achieve this before the election on November 3.
- Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer became a polemic figure after she issued coronavirus restrictions in Michigan, prompting armed protests.
- The thirteen men trained together and conducted coordinated surveillance on Whitmer’s vacation home in preparation for the mission.
- The FBI arrested the suspects after an intricate undercover operation which revealed that the conspirators planned to purchase explosives and use them to distract police from the attack at the capitol building.
- The FBI called the suspects domestic terrorists. The Michigan Attorney General called them white supremacists.
- In a statement yesterday, Whitmer said that the extremists were likely inspired by Trump’s rhetoric, including a Tweet that said “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”. Trump campaign senior advisor Jason Miller said that Whitmer’s words were reflective of irrational hatred for the president, and Trump Tweeted that she was totally out of line.
- Highlights the radical history of the suspects, portraying them as kooks.
- Leans into the narrative that Trump inspired the plot with hateful rhetoric, and that the Trump campaign’s response to her allegations was unacceptable.
- Has long reported that Trump’s rhetoric is dangerous and directly inspiring to right-wing extremists.
- Points out that Trump should have outwardly condemned the kidnapping plot, which Biden
- Reports that the left has no reason to implicate Trump in the plot, and insinuates that Whitmer is only a pawn echoing Biden’s claims.
- Lauds the FBI for its excellent work on the investigation.
- Amplifies Trump’s response to Whitmer’s claim, saying that he does not tolerate violence and she should be grateful to him for overseeing the federal investigation that saved her life.
- Distances the GOP from the suspects and the alt-right, pointing out that at least one of the militiamen called Trump a tyrant.
© Evelyn Torsher, 2020