Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has accused US President Donald Trump of inciting “domestic terrorism” following “lock her up” chants at his recent rally in the state.
Ms Whitmer told NBC’s Meet The Press that the rhetoric was “incredibly disturbing” a little more than a week after authorities announced they had thwarted an alleged plot to kidnap the Democratic governor.
“The president is at it again and inspiring and incentivising and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism,” she said.
“People of good will on both sides of the aisle need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down.”
At a rally in Muskegon on Saturday evening, Mr Trump urged supporters to push Ms Whitmer to reopen the state following Covid-19 restrictions. When the crowd starting chanting “lock her up”, Mr Trump added: “Lock ’em all up.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking on ABC’s This Week, said Mr Trump’s statements were “irresponsible” and accused him of injecting fear tactics.
Several Republican and Trump campaign officials appeared on Sunday news shows to defend the president.
Democrats have sought to tie Mr Trump to the alleged plot against Ms Whitmer, pointing to the president’s tweet earlier this year to “Liberate Michigan!” after the governor restricted personal movement and the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Michigan — particularly the Detroit area — was hit hard early during the pandemic. Many of the limits have since been lifted.
Authorities allege that members of two anti-government paramilitary groups took part in plotting Ms Whitmer’s kidnapping, although some were charged under federal law and others under state law.
Six men, led by Adam Fox of the Michigan III%ers, are charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap her.
Eight others who are believed to be members or associates of a group called the Wolverine Watchmen are charged in state court with counts including providing material support for terrorist acts.
Some of the Wolverine Watchmen are accused of planning other violent crimes, such as storming the Michigan Capitol building and attacking law enforcement officers.