President Donald Trump went to Michigan on Saturday to rally supporters at an airport hangar in Muskegon. In the middle of trying to tie rival Joe Biden to the radical left, Trump also got local and called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to lay off on the restrictions that were put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19. “You’ve got to get your governor to open up your state,” Trump said as the crowd cheered. “And get your schools open. Get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?” That’s when the crowd started chanting, “Lock her up” in a throwback to the 2016 campaign, when those three words were directed at Hillary Clinton. The president laughed and said: “Lock them all up.” The crowd continued to cheer.
The president egging on his supporters to direct their ire at Whitmer came mere days after the FBI foiled a plan by members of a Michigan-based militia to kidnap her and perhaps even kill her. Federal and state authorities charged 14 men for taking part in the plot. But Trump minimized the whole thing in another part of his Saturday speech after he went back to criticizing Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions and stood there as the crowd chanted “lock her up” yet again. “They said she was threatened,” Trump said. “And she blamed me.” Trump seemed incredulous, making a point of saying that “our people were the ones who worked with her people.”
Whitmer didn’t wait for Trump to be done speaking before she criticized the president for his words. “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,” Whitmer wrote. “It needs to stop.” Tori Saylor, Whitmer’s deputy digital director, tweeted that she sees everything that is written about the governor online. “Every single time the President does this at a rally, the violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media,” she wrote.