Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam says Trump's 'liberate Virginia' tweet amounted to an incitement of violence.
Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's office blamed Donald Trump for inciting violence from his supporters, saying Trump's rhetoric is dangerous.
A spokesperson for Northam made the comment after the FBI announced on Tuesday that right-wing extremists who were allegedly plotting to overthrow and kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also talked about carrying out a similar plot against Northam.
"Here's the reality: President Trump called upon his supporters to 'LIBERATE VIRGINIA' in April — just like Michigan. In fact, the President regularly encourages violence against those who disagree with him," Northam spokesperson Alena Yarmosky said in a statement. "The rhetoric coming out of this White House has serious and potentially deadly consequences. It must stop."
Like Northam's office, Whitmer also blamed Trump's rhetoric for the potential danger she faced from the alleged kidnapping plot against her.
"Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action," Whitmer said in a news conference after the FBI announced the arrests.
"When our leader speaks, their words matter," Whitmer added. "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."
Yet Trump didn't stop attacking Whitmer, even after the plot was discovered.
Rather, Trump again criticized Whitmer's attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus — which the right-wing would-be kidnappers were angry over — and said she should be more grateful to him.
Whitmer slammed Trump for that response.
"A decent human being would pick up the phone and say, 'Are you ok? How's your family doing?'" Whitmer said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"That's what Joe Biden did. And I think it tells you everything you need to know about the character of the two people that are vying to lead our country for the next four years," she added.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.