Extremists Who Plotted Kidnapping Michigan Governor Discussed Virginia Governor, Too
A self-proclaimed militia group charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also discussed taking Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
The revelation came during a hearing in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Tuesday. According to NPR’s Ryan Lucas, an FBI agent testifying at the hearing said two of the six defendants attended a meeting in June, where attendees discussed “taking a sitting governor.” Both Whitmer and Northam were discussed as possible targets because of the restrictions they put in place to address the coronavirus pandemic. There is no indication Northam was ever in imminent danger or that there was an active plot.
At a press conference in Richmond Tuesday afternoon, Northam blamed President Donald Trump’s rhetoric for encouraging extremists.
“These threats are not coming and this rhetoric is not coming from another country, it’s coming from Washington and that I regret. It needs to stop,” he said.
Northam’s comments reflected an earlier statement from his press secretary Alena Yarmosky, who highlighted Trump’s “LIBERATE VIRGINIA” tweet as an example of rhetoric with “serious and potentially deadly consequences.”
Yarmosky also said the FBI had alerted key members of the governor’s security team, but in keeping with protocols for highly-classified information, Northam and his staff were not informed.
White House Secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded to Northam’s comments, saying in a statement that Trump “has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate.”
“Governor Whitmer, and now Governor Northam, are sowing division by making these outlandish allegations,” McEnany said. “America stands united against hate and in support of our federal law enforcement who stopped this plot.”
Editor's Note: This story was updated with statements from Gov. Northam and White House Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.