Trump’s barbs at the Michigan governor, the target of a kidnapping plot, prompted chants of ‘lock her up’ on Saturday.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has condemned United States President Donald Trump’s rhetoric towards her at a campaign rally.

The Saturday night barbs, which came at an event in Michigan, included Donald Trump criticising Whitmer’s stringent response to the coronavirus, calling her “dishonest” and appearing to make light of a foiled plot to kidnap the Democratic governor.

Thirteen men, some members of a right-wing armed group, have since been charged in that plot.

“They said she was threatened,” Trump told the crowd. “And she blamed me. Hopefully, you’ll be sending her packing pretty soon.”

The crowd responded with chants of “lock her up”, a refrain of a phrase used against then-candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

Whitmer wrote on Twitter on Saturday: “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.”


Meanwhile, Whitmer’s digital director, Tori Saylor, tweeted: “I am the Governor’s Deputy Digital Director. I see everything that is said about and to her online. Every single time the President does this at a rally, the violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media.

“It has to stop. It just has to,” she said.

Trump’s daughter-in-law and campaign adviser, Lara Trump, sought to portray the incident as overblown and told CNN the president was “having fun”.

“He wasn’t doing anything I don’t think to provoke people to threaten this woman at all. He was having fun at a Trump rally and quite frankly, here are bigger issues than this right now for everyday Americans people,” she said before pivoting to saying coronavirus restrictions need to be lifted because “people want to get the country open”, she said on Sunday.

Trump, who is in the midst of a campaign push amid slumping national polls, held rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin on Saturday, where there has been a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Mask use was mixed at both rallies, which were held outdoors and saw little in the way of social distancing.

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