LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that governors from both major political parties have reached out to share stories of extremism in their states since authorities revealed that a group of men had been plotting for months to kidnap her.
“I know this isn’t unique to Michigan, but this is uniquely American in this moment and it’s on all of us, people of good will on both sides of the aisle, to take it on,” Whitmer, a Democrat, told The Associated Press.
Authorities announced Thursday that they had foiled an incredible plot to kidnap Whitmer in a scheme that even included rehearsals to snatch her from her vacation home before the Nov. 3 election. Her first term as governor runs through 2022.
Six men were charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the governor in retaliation for what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power” and then take her to Wisconsin for a “trial,” according to a criminal complaint.
The court filing described Adam Fox, who had been living below a Grand Rapids vacuum shop, as a leader.
Whitmer “loves the power she has right now. ... She has no checks and balances at all,” Fox said, according to FBI surveillance.
Separately, seven others linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were charged in state court for allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol and seek a civil war. Four of them were accused of helping to scout Whitmer’s second home, and both groups trained together, according to a state affidavit.
“There's no question that these hate groups are domestic terrorists, and I think we need to call them that,” Whitmer said. “This is a group of people that are acting on bigotry and prejudice and acting with violence with intent to harm their fellow Americans.”