Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer almost found herself in a real-life kidnapping plot that sounds like something straight out of the movies. Thirteen people ended up being charged in a plot to take down the governor after the FBI infiltrated the group with a confidential informant.
Six people were charged federally with conspiracy to kidnap; seven others were charged by the state. Some of those charged are apparently associated with the militia group “Wolverine Watchmen,” according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
“The individuals in (state) custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war, and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan,” Nessel said at a press conference.
According to the FBI, the conspirators conducted surveillance of Whitmer’s vacation home on two separate occasions and also discussed detonating explosive devices as a deterrent to draw police away from the vacation-home area.
Whitmer has been praised but also criticized for her role in the state’s response to the coronavirus. The governor placed extremely tough restrictions and mandates on personal movement and businesses throughout the state as the pandemic first started to surge. In televised remarks Thursday afternoon, Whitmer said she “knew this job would be hard, but I’ll be honest, I never could’ve imagined anything like this.”
Republican leaders in Michigan were quick to condemn the plot. Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox noted, “We live in a nation where we settle our political disagreements at the ballot box, not through violence, and any attempt to do otherwise is an attack on our Constitution, our values, and our American way of life.”
Governor Whitmer spoke publicly about it Thursday and instantly instantly turned her ordeal into a political issue. She put the blame of the attempted kidnapping on President Trump, saying he provides a “rallying cry” for hate groups.