Does Trump Actually WANT His Followers To Kidnap Gretchen Whitmer?
Yesterday, at his rally in Muskegon, Michigan, Donald Trump announced to a thrilled public that he was dismissing Mike Pence as his running mate and replacing him with JFK, Jr, who it turns out is not dead after all. Then Elvis popped onstage and sang a few bars of "Are You Lonesome, Tonight?" before they all walked off into the sunset, only to find themselves at the Nighthawks diner a few hours later, in order to drink some coffee and solidify their plans for the mass arrests expected to happen this week.
Ok, no. That did not happen. And a few people are upset about that.
"Now I am disheartened and broken, and wondering if all of this was a lie."
"We had people watching Trump's rallies and now we all look like lying, crazy ass fools for believing that today was the great Awakening coming back from the dead. Monday will be an imbarisment for a lot of people."
An "imbarisment" indeed.
What did end up happening at the rally, however, was that Trump told the crowd that they needed to tell Governor Gretchen Whitmer to stop trying to do things to control the spread of the novel coronavirus:
"You gotta get your governor to open up your state, okay? And get your schools open. Get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?"
The crowd responded with their traditional chants of "Lock Her Up!" — which one might consider in poor taste given the fact that a bunch of militia members had recently been arrested for their plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer in a PT Cruiser.
Did Trump admonish them? He did not! In fact, he responded by saying "Lock 'em all up."
"Lock 'em all up." Just for the record, Gov. Whitmer isn't the only public official to have faced a kidnapping threat lately. The Wichita, Kansas police recently thwarted an attempted kidnapping of the city's mayor by a musician who calls himself Cathead and was very upset about having to wear a mask. The FBI also says they recently foiled a kidnapping attempt against Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Apparently these people think that if they successfully kidnap a mayor or Governor, the mask mandates go away automatically — or that it's gonna be some kind of Patty Hearst type situation where they convince the person they kidnapped to side with them.
But whatever they think is going on, it's probably best not to encourage them.
Gov. Whitmer, understandably, was pretty wigged out by the chanting, saying on Sunday that "It's got to end," because "It is dangerous, not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans."
Trump's surrogates, naturally, are defending him. Lara Trump, speaking to Jake Tapper this morning, explained that he was just "having fun" at a Trump rally, which she described as a "fun, light atmosphere" where people just sometimes casually chant about locking up their political enemies. Like you do.
Trump advisor Jason Miller told Fox New Sunday that the president has "absolutely no regrets" about his rhetoric, saying "I think the fact of the matter is that many residents of Michigan are pretty frustrated with the governor. They want to see the state open back up."
Mind you, these are the people who have been sobbing for two years now over the fact that Maxine Waters said to confront Trump administration officials when they see them out on the town and tell them to stop separating families at the border. They still have not let it go, and Lara Trump even referenced it in her interview with Tapper. Maxine Waters, by the way, did not encourage anyone to lock up Trump administration officials and there are simply not enough smelling salts in the world to revive the Right if she had.
It would, of course, really be super great if Donald Trump could just refrain from encouraging his followers to chant about locking up his political enemies, at least while we know there have been multiple kidnap threats. But that's just who he is, and he's not going to change.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse