WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump slammed Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a rally in the state Saturday, prompting repeated chants of “lock her up” from the crowd weeks after the FBI foiled a kidnapping plot aimed at the Democratic leader.
“Be careful of her and her attorney general because you know they’re like in charge of the ballot stuff,” Trump said during a rally in Muskegon, Michigan. “How the hell do I put my political and our country’s political life in the hands of a pure partisan like that?”
Trump has frequently attacked Whitmer for her administration’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 by imposing strict lockdowns of gatherings in the state, which the Republican president believes went too far . But the remarks combined with the “lock her up” chants drew renewed attention from Democrats following the kidnapping plot.
More than a dozen members of an anti-government group have been charged in the plot.
“They said she was threatened,” Trump said at one point. “And she blamed me.”
Whitmer responded on Twitter while Trump was still speaking.
“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,” she wrote. “It needs to stop.”
Trump has traveled to Michigan, one of the election’s most important battlegrounds, at least four times this year. He narrowly won Michigan in 2016, but current polling in the state shows Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading there.