After law enforcement officials announced the arrests of 13 people they said were plotting to kidnap her, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stepped to the microphone. After thanking the people who foiled the domestic terrorism conspiracy, she addressed the big picture, the Detroit Free Press reports. In a time when Americans should be working together to combat the coronavirus, Whitmer said, President Trump has been "denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust and fomenting anger." She cited Trump's refusal in the presidential debate to renounce the Proud Boys, telling the white supremecist group to "Stand back, stand by" instead. Leaders who do such a thing are complicit, Whitmer said, adding that hate groups took Trump's words as "a call to action." The people arrested in the plot against Whitmer have ties to a milita group, the FBI said.
A Trump adviser answered by saying the Democratic governor "wakes up every day with such hatred in her heart for President Trump," per Business Insider. Jason Miller called the governor's comments "shameful," saying, "How you can go from a moment of unity to attacking President Trump?" Whitmer and Trump have criticized each other over the handling of the pandemic, per NPR. In April, demonstrators—some carrying weapons—protesting Whitmer's stay-at-home order entered the state capitol and tried to reach the House. Trump earlier had tweeted, "Liberate Michigan." After the debate, the president backed away from his comments to the Proud Boys. Still, his election opponent, Joe Biden, backed up Whitmer on Thursday after speaking to her about the plot. "The words of a president matter," Biden said. (Read more Gretchen Whitmer stories.)