Gov. Whitmer is Right; Trump is Complicit in the Rise of Right Wing Hate Groups
This week, the US Department of Homeland Security identified the growing menace posed by right-wing hate groups as the “most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland.” And, yesterday Federal agents foiled a scheme to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by one such group called the Wolverine Watchmen. According to authorities, the kidnapping was part of a broader plot to instigate a civil war in America.
Detroit Free Press: "The Wolverine Watchmen militia group didn't just plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but they were on a mission to attack the state Capitol and target police officers at their homes as part of a broader mission to instigate a civil war, authorities said Thursday in announcing felony charges against 13 militia members accused in a sensational case of domestic terrorism."
Gov. Whitmer issued a statement after the arrests yesterday thanking law enforcement and pointing out that President Trump is complicit in the rise of such white nationalist groups around the country, specifically mentioning his refusal to condemn the "Proud Boys" organization during the first Presidential debate.
The Hill: "Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacist and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups," Whitmer said. "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."
She is right of course, and Trump's encouragement of white nationalism goes back to the beginning of his presidency. But, more importantly, Trump has singled out Whitmer for constant criticism during the Covid pandemic, telling supporters to "Liberate Michigan" in response to her virus lock-down restrictions and calling her the "lock-up queen" in an interview just hours before news of the kidnap plot was reported.
Michigan has had a problematic white nationalist militia movement for years, just looking for some reckless idiot to issue a call to arms. So, Gov. Whitmer is correct in pointing out that Trump can't have it both ways; he can't make statements that encourage weak-minded individuals to rebel against their elected officials and then claim that he doesn't accept responsibility when they listen to his nonsense. He owns it.
And, more broadly, no one should be surprised that there is a growing white nationalist movement in America when our President goes out of his way to encourage divisiveness in the country.
Biden Statement, NBC: "There is a throughline from President Trump’s dog whistles and tolerance of hate, vengeance, and lawlessness to plots such as this one. He is giving oxygen to the bigotry and hate we see on the march in our country. We have to stop it."
Yes, we do.
It's easy to laugh at the simple-minded conspiracy theories that motivate the members of groups like the Wolverine Watchmen, Proud Boys, boogaloo' bois, and QAnon, but many individuals within these groups are well armed and dangerously deluded. Since 1994, 329 murders have been linked to the far-right in America. That has to stop.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content
Photo Credit: Julia Pickett