Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that the militia members who plotted to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer followed Trump’s dog whistles.
AG Nessel said on MSNBC:
They traffic in the politics of extremism but I’ll say this. I’m a lifelong Michigander and you can go back to the Oklahoma City bombing and see there’s a relationship between Michigan militia groups and that horrible event but things died down for quite some time and things escalated exponentially recently and first of all, of course, having a president that seems to condone these types of actions.
Certainly, I would say more than dog whistles out there. Right? I mean, very good people on both sides. And as you indicated before tweets to liberate Michigan. What does that mean exactly? And, you know, calls to stand back and stand by talking about the proud boys. So this is a president that traffics in extremism and I hear the press frequently talk about it in terms of a dog whistle to these groups but to me it’s not a dog whistle.
It is really a command to action more than anything and especially I see that in terms of our governor, what these groups often tend to do is they take advantage of moments of civil unrest and between the covid epidemic and the black lives matter protests, things have only escalated more and more and you see this hateful rhetoric against our governor for months and months and seen it enabled not just by the president but by other elected leaders in our state that call her a dictator or use other very hostile language towards her and I think that this is building up for a long time.
The FBI has taken note of it and it was time to step in and to ensure that she did not lose her life and that we didn’t have anybody else in our states potentially threatened either and time to move forward on these 13 different defendants.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that militia members followed Trump's "call to action." in plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. pic.twitter.com/WYApY5m7RF
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 8, 2020
Trump has sent a clear signal to right-wing groups that their extremism and violence will be approved of and tolerated by him and his administration. The Whitmer plot had been in motion for months before the arrests, but they are an example of the sort of extremist violence that Trump has given his implicit seal of approval to.
When Trump refused to denounce right-wing extremism and white supremacy at the first presidential debate, he was giving militias and white supremacists a thumbs up.
These groups have been emboldened by Trump, and this must be held accountable at the ballot box next month.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association