Tudor Dixon, the Republican nominee for governor of Michigan, mocked a kidnapping plot against her Democratic opponent, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, at two campaign events on Friday.
The 2020 plot against Ms. Whitmer rattled Michigan and was seen as a sign of the rising threat of political violence and right-wing domestic terrorism. Two men were convicted in a plan to kidnap the governor at her vacation home and instigate a national rebellion. Prosecutors said that the men went on “reconnaissance missions” to the home, amassed high-powered guns and discussed blowing up a bridge to keep the police from responding. Two other men were acquitted.
“The sad thing is Gretchen will tie your hands, put a gun to your head and ask if you are ready to talk. For someone so worried about getting kidnapped, Gretchen Whitmer sure is good at taking business hostage and holding it for ransom,” she said at an event in Troy, Mich., provoking laughter and applause in the room.
The remarks drew swift condemnation from Ms. Whitmer’s campaign and from Democratic groups. At another campaign event later in the day in Muskegon, Ms. Dixon doubled down. She joked that Ms. Whitmer had looked unsure of what was going on as she held President Biden’s hand during his recent visit to an auto show in the state.
“The look on her face was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is happening. I’d rather be kidnapped by the F.B.I.,’” she said at the rally, as some in the audience laughed, clapped and whistled. Then, looking to reporters in the back, she contended that her earlier comments about holding businesses for ransom had not been a joke.
“If you were afraid of that, you should know what it is to have your life ripped away from you,” Ms. Dixon said.
Ms. Dixon, who is trailing Ms. Whitmer in the polls before the election on Nov. 8, had been campaigning on Friday with Donald Trump Jr. and Kellyanne Conway, the former Trump White House adviser. Former President Donald J. Trump is expected to appear with Ms. Dixon at a rally on Oct. 1 in Macomb County.
In a statement, Sam Newton, deputy communications director for the Democratic Governors Association, called Ms. Dixon’s comments “dangerous, an insult to law enforcement who keep us safe and utterly disqualifying for the role of Michigan governor.”
Maeve Coyle, a spokeswoman for Ms. Whitmer’s campaign, said Ms. Dixon’s remarks made her “absolutely unfit to lead in Michigan” and were “no laughing matter.”
“Governor Whitmer has faced serious threats to her safety and her life, and she is grateful to the law enforcement and prosecutors for their tireless work,” Ms. Coyle said in a statement.
Source: NY Times