At the height of the virus outbreak that's killed over 200 thousand Americans, President Donald Trump railed against state and local leaders for heeding recommendations from health experts to temporarily shut down non-essential businesses and institute stay-at-home orders.
One of Trump's favorite targets was Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Earlier this week, federal and state officials arrested 13 people connected to a plot to overtake the state capitol and kidnap Governor Whitmer before subjecting her to some sort of trial. The domestic terrorist group behind the scheme is known as Wolverine Watchmen.
Whitmer said that Trump's constant targeting, coupled with his refusal to condemn white supremacist groups at the presidential debate the month before, were partly to blame:
"Just last week, the President of the United 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 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."
Her words sent Trump off on yet another Twitter rant:
But the governor isn't backing down.
Whitmer published an
on Friday for the Washington Post, in which she doubled down on her determination to hold the President accountable for his words:
"When our leaders encourage domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit ... Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action."
She then skewered Trump's response to the national health emergency:
"[I]nstead of uniting the country, our president has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, and fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division. He has proved time and again that he is more focused on his chances in the upcoming election and picking fights with me and Democrats across the country than he is on protecting our families, front-line workers and small businesses from [the virus]."
People applauded the governor's resolve:
Like Whitmer, they vowed to do what they could to hold the President accountable.