Washington, Oct 17 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Sunday criticized Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, prompting the crowd at an election rally to chant “lock her up.”
“You have got to get your governor to open up her state,” Trump told a boisterous mass of his supporters who had gathered outside an airport hangar in Muskegon in Michigan.
“And get your schools open. The schools have to be open,” he said.
In response, the crowd chanted “lock her up, lock her up, lock her up” about the first-term Democratic governor.
The “lock her up” slogan was reminiscent of Trump’s 2016 campaign audiences, who chanted the phrase when he said Democrat Hillary Clinton should be locked up for sending official emails over an insecure private server as secretary of state.
Responding to the reaction of the crowd at Muskegon, Trump laughed and said: “Let’s lock them up.”
The Democratic governor reacted angrily on Twitter.
“This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop,” Whitmer wrote.
The controversy came after a Michigan federal court charged six people with conspiring to storm the Michigan capitol, kidnap the governor and other officials, and potentially began a civil war.
All the six accused face life sentences.
At the same time, the state of Michigan charged another group of seven men with terror-related crimes for plotting to assassinate the governor.
The accused are allegedly from the “Wolverine Watchman” militia, an organization with far-right ideology.
Members of the militia had acquired weapons, carried out surveillance of the governor at her home, and had trained to kidnap or assassinate her and other members of the state government before the Nov.3 general election.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told reporters that the defendants belonged to the “Wolverine Watchman” militia and wanted to instigate a civil war in the country.
Whitmer has been the target of criticism from conservative groups and far-right militias since she restricted commercial activities and gatherings in the state to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the rally in Muskegon, goaded the crowd into booing at the idea of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
He referred to his election rival Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, who on Oct 12 urged the Americans to join with native communities and all Americans to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.
“So last week, Biden attacked Christopher Columbus by refusing to recognize Columbus Day. And he wants to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. Who likes that idea,” Trump asked the crowd.
The crowd replied with loud booing.
Biden, on Oct.12, published a statement for Indigenous Peoples Day in which he asked Americans to recognize the past and commit to one another to write a new future of promise, partnership, and equal opportunity for the proud Tribal Nations of the United States.