The Trump campaign deepened the echo chamber of the President’s attacks against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Sunday as they repeated his gripe that the Democratic governor should be more appreciative after the FBI foiled an alleged right-wing conspiracy to kidnap and possibly kill her earlier this month.
On Saturday night, Trump echoed his supporters’ “lock her up” chants as he brought up Whitmer, who he has repeatedly criticized for the COVID-19 restrictions she implemented. The President laughed and grinned as he snarked: “Lock her up? Lock them all up!”
Shortly after Trump delivered his remarks, Whitmer condemned the President for his incendiary remarks to his supporters in a tweet on Saturday night. The Michigan governor reiterated her condemnation of Trump the following morning, telling MSNBC that Trump’s rhetoric is “dangerous” not only for her and her family, but also “for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans.”
The President’s surrogates continued taking aim at Whitmer a day after the President amplified his supporters’ “lock her up” chants against her. The Trump campaign baselessly accused the Michigan governor of advocating for Trump’s assassination in a tweet referencing the term “86,” which commonly means to have someone removed from a service establishment such as a bar or restaurant.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer displayed an "86 45" sign during her TV appearance.
86 can be shorthand for killing someone.
Whitmer is encouraging assassination attempts against President Trump just weeks after someone sent a ricin-laced package to the White House. pic.twitter.com/GzvtrjH40A
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 18, 2020
Here are other examples of the Trump campaign deflecting from the President’s “lock her up” rally call by continuing to attack Whitmer instead:
Trump campaign senior adviser Lara Trump
Pressed on the President’s amplification of his supporters’ “lock her up” chants the morning after during an interview on CNN, Lara Trump piggybacked off of her father-in-law’s talking point that his Department of Justice “actually thwarted this attack against” the Michigan governor.
After saying that the alleged plot against Whitmer is “awful” and that “no one should ever have this thing happen to them,” Trump echoed the President by arguing that “people are frustrated around America” and in Michigan, particularly, when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions.
Asked again about the threats Whitmer has received, Trump hit back that she has gotten threats as well and that “this is not just on one side.”
The President’s daughter-in-law also denied that Trump was doing anything to “provoke” people to threaten Whitmer and quipped that “he was having fun at a Trump rally.”
When asked if the President should tone down his rhetoric against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Trump campaign senior adviser Lara Trump says, "He wasn't doing anything, I don't think, to provoke people to threaten this woman at all. He was having fun at a Trump rally" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/Hm9GIWeH5d
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 18, 2020
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel
Upon being asked about her response to Trump’s amplification of his supporters’ “lock her up” chants at his Michigan rally during an interview on ABC News, McDaniel first replied that “the President and his FBI foiled this plot” against Whitmer.
“And I think Governor Whitmer is really inappropriate to try to lay blame at the President,” McDaniel said. “These were sick individuals. There was no political affiliation. They were attacking the capitol as well. We’re glad she is safe, her family is safe.”
After McDaniel doubled down on her argument, she was then pressed about the threats that Whitmer has received each time the President attacks her.
Much like Lara Trump’s remarks in her interview with CNN on Sunday, McDaniel hit back by saying that “Democrats attack us too.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Trump’s rhetoric “put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 18, 2020
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller
Asked about whether the President has any regrets about his incendiary remarks toward Whitmer during an interview on Fox News Sunday, Miller denied the notion as he repeated Trump’s call for the Michigan governor to “open up your state.”
“No, not at all,” Miller said. “The fact of the matter is that many residents of Michigan are pretty frustrated with the governor.”
Miller went on to add that he’s “glad that President Trump’s DOJ was able to get these psychopaths and put them away,” referring to the 14 charged suspects in the foiled kidnapping plot targeting Whitmer, before reiterating that “people in Michigan want to get their state open back up.”
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller says the President has no regrets about joining "lock her up" chants at Michigan rally pic.twitter.com/KgDhjYKhMg
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 18, 2020