Michigan governor slams Trump's 'rallying cry' to hate groups

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Trump previously told extremist groups to 'stand back and stand by.'

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday criticized Donald Trump for his support of extremists like the group accused of plotting to kidnap her.

The FBI on Thursday announced charges against six men who allegedly planned to kidnap the governor as part of a violent plot to overthrow the state's government.

Trump, Whitmer said, has given "comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division," like those who targeted her.

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She noted that in the first presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump "refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups."

She then pointed out that instead of rebuking extremists, Trump told them to "stand back and stand by."

"Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action," said Whitmer.

"When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit."

From an Oct. 8 press conference:

GRETCHEN WHITMER: This should be a moment for national unity, where we all pull together as Americans to meet this challenge head-on with the same might and muscle that put a man on the moon. Seeing the humanity in one another and doing our part to help our country get through this.

 

Instead, our head of state has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger, and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division.

 

Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups. "Stand back and stand by," he told them.

 

Stand back and stand by. Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action.

When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.

 

When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.