During the early stages of the virus outbreak in the United States, experts estimated that if no precautions were taken, millions of Americans would die.
As a result, state and local leaders across the nation instituted stay-at-home orders and mask mandates while temporarily ordering non-essential businesses to close—all the while, they were decried by President Donald Trump and his allies who emphasized the damage these precautions could do to the economy.
Since then, Trump has since credited himself, not local leaders, for saving millions of lives even as the death toll inches closer to 250 thousand Americans.
Among the leaders Trump criticized for taking these precautions was Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Nearly six months later, federal and Michigan state officials announced on Thursday that 13 people associated with the right wing domestic terrorist militia Wolverine Watchmen have been arrested in connection with a plot to kidnap Whitmer.
According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel:
"The individuals in 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."
Whitmer said that Trump and his unwillingness to condemn far-right extremist groups was 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."
Trump campaign official Jason Miller was asked about the arrests and Whitmer's comments.
"These are some pretty shameful comments here from Governor Whitmer...If we want to talk about hatred, then Governor Whitmer, go look in the mirror -- the fact that she wakes up everyday with such hatred in her heart for President Trump."
People were stunned by Miller's comments.
Meanwhile, support is flooding in for Whitmer, known colloquially by her supporters as "Big Gretch."