HomePoliticsGovernor Whitmer Shows Alt-Right Militia What US Leadership Looks Like

Governor Whitmer Shows Alt-Right Militia What US Leadership Looks Like

Why We Have To Talk About trump’s Complicity in the Conspiracy to Kidnap Governor Whitmer

Federal and state officials announced that thirteen alt-right militia men were charged in an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Six alt-right militia men have been arrested and charged federally for conspiring to kidnap Governor Whitmer. Seven others associated with the militia group “Wolverine Watchmen,” were charged by the state.

I don’t want to be writing about this today. I really don’t. I want to be writing about the historical moments from last night’s historical Vice Presidential debates, and how amazing and empowering it is to have Senator Kamala Harris—a woman of color—running for Vice President and whooping a racist, sexist white man’s ass on the debate stage. I want to be writing about how as a woman it is thrilling to have more and more women winning important positions in our government and becoming senators and governors. Because to me it means that one day we might actually have a female president. One day.

Unfortunately, I have to write about this shit. I must. Because at the very same moment I received this terrifying news, I was listening to trump rant about Senator Kamala Harris on Fox Business. And he wasn’t ranting in the usual way, he was demonizing her quite literally.

“And this monster that was on stage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night by the way,” trump ranted, “but this monster, she says, no, no, there won’t be fracking.”

Understand this: with trump as president, every woman who opposes him while holding a powerful political position is risking her life.

Only a week ago, trump told the alt-right militia group Proud Boys and other white nationalists to, “Stand back and stand by.” Democrats and decent people said it was a rallying cry for these groups of domestic terrorists, and today our assumptions was proven true.

The Chilling Details of the Alleged Plot to Kidnap Governor Whitmer

The six alt-right militia men charged by the federal government are Michigan residents Adam Fox, 37, Ty Garbin, 24, Kaleb Franks, 26, Daniel Harris, 23, Brandon Caserta, 32, and Delaware resident Barry Croft, 44.

The seven men charged by the state are Paul Bellar, 21, Shawn Fix, 38, Eric Molitor, 36, Michael Null, 38, William Null, 38, Pete Musico, 42, Joseph Morrison, 42. They face a variety of firearm and terror charges.

During a press conference Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “The individuals in (state) custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war, and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan.”

governor gretchen whitmer, alt-right militia

According to the FBI, the alt-right Michigan militia group was on its radar because in March its members attempted to acquire the home addresses of local law enforcement officers with the goal of attacking or killing them.

Then, the FBI planted a confidential informant who traveled to Dublin, Ohio for a meeting with Croft, Fox and 13 others on June 6. That was when talks of “murdering tyrants” and taking sitting governors began. By June 14 Fox was being introduced to the leader of a second Michigan-based militia group and plans to take Governor Gretchen Whitmer began.

Let’s be clear, they weren’t playing around. The plans were very real. These men bought weapons. Ran surveillance on Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s vacation home and even practiced using detonation devices. To imagine what they would have done to the Governor had they taken her sends chills down my spine.

It should send chills down every woman’s spine

Familiar words

For me, one of the most striking moments was reading the words taken from a recording of Fox discussing the kidnapping. He says,”Snatch and grab, man. Grab the fucking Governor. Just grab the bitch. Because at that point, we do that, dude — it’s over.”

If that doesn’t echo the “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything” sentiment, I just don’t know what does. It echoes trumps sentiment: Women are up for grabs, and if they aren’t with him, then they are the enemy. They are monsters

And thus…

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

-margaret Atwood

Governor Whitmer Shows What Real Leadership Looks Like

Governor Gretcjem Whitmer isn’t hiding. Hell, she must be shaken, but you wouldn’t know it from the televised statement she issued. In her words, after stating that while the pandemic should have brought us together, making this a time of unity in the US, “…instead our head of state has spent the last 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,” she said.

“Just last week the president of the unites 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 his words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action,” she continued. “When our leaders speak their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet with, encourage, and fraternize with domestic terrorists they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.”

Governor Whitmer then evoked the words of President Reagan, from a speech he made in 1981 condemning white supremacy. She said, “Then Reagan sent a message directly to those who still adhere to senseless racism and religious prejudice. ‘You are the ones who are out of step with our society,’ he said, ‘you are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America. This country, because of what it stands for will not stand for your conduct.’”

Then Governor Gretchen Whitmer showed the world—including the likes of trump—what female leadership looks like:

“So, let me say this loud in and clear. Hatred, bigotry, and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan. If you break the law or conspire to commit heinous acts of violence against anyone, we will find you, we will hold you accountable, and we will bring you to justice.”

I don’t want to be writing about this today, but I must. Because if we want to continue to have strong, brave, leaders who aren’t afraid to stand up to white supremacists like Governor Whitmer in our country, we have to protect our female representatives from right wing domestic terrorists like the one running our country right now, and vote trump out!

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Annette Benedetti
Annette Benedetti
Annette is a writer, editor and photographer from Portland, OR. Her work appears in a variety of publications including Bust, Red Tricycle, Motherly and Domino. When she’s away from her desk she can be found teaching women yoga at wilderness retreats, exploring new cities across the states and hiking the trails at Mt. Rainier—one of her favorite places on earth.