At a pro-Dixon super PAC event in Troy, Michigan, Dixon criticized Whitmer for what the Republican called restrictive business regulations. She said Whitmer was “not a businesswoman” and that she was “a law-educated politician” and then invoked the kidnapping plot.
“The sad thing is that Gretchen will tie your hands, put a gun to your head and ask you if you’re ready to talk,” Dixon said at the event, hosted with former Kellyanne Conway. Trump’s White House aide. “For someone so scared of being kidnapped, Gretchen Whitmer is good at taking things hostage and holding them for ransom.”
Whitmer’s campaign and Democratic groups condemned Dixon’s remarks on Friday.
“Threats of violence and dangerous rhetoric undermine our democracy and discourage good people on both sides of the aisle at all levels from entering public service,” Whitmer campaign spokeswoman Maeve Coyle said. , in a press release.
“Governor Whitmer has faced serious threats to her safety and her life, and she is grateful to law enforcement and prosecutors for their tireless work,” Coyle said. “The threats of violence – whether against Governor Whitmer or the candidates and elected officials across the aisle – are no laughing matter, and the fact that Tudor Dixon thinks it is a prank shows that she is absolutely unfit to serve in the public office.”
After his comment caused a backlash, Dixon joked about the kidnapping plot again at a second event on Friday, this time with Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son.
She told a crowd that, during a stop with President Joe Biden at the Detroit Auto Show last week, Whitmer looked like she would “rather be kidnapped by the FBI.”
“Yeah, the media is like, ‘Oh my God, she did it again,'” Dixon said, anticipating the reaction to his second reference of the day to the 2020 abduction plot.
As she told the crowd that her previous remarks about the plot to kidnap Whitmer had been dismissed as a joke, Dixon said: “I’m like, ‘No, that wasn’t a joke. If you were afraid of that, you should know what it’s like to have your life ripped away from you.”
Dixon, pressed later Friday about her remarks shedding light on the conspiracy, later defended them to CNN.
“I think when you’re under attack every day, you have to have a bit of levity about it,” she said. “We can still have fun.”
The 2020 plot was foiled in part because FBI agents had infiltrated the group as it planned the effort to kidnap Whitmer.
“By a show of hands – how many Feds in the crowd? I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t some kind of, you know, federal kidnapping plot,” Trump Jr. said.
“You know, Gretchen Whitmer knew about it months in advance. But you know what, if we can get some good PR out of it, we can pretend it’s real,” Trump Jr. said. “You know, the FBI can try to trap some meth heads somewhere and run with this story now.”
Dixon, a conservative commentator and businesswoman from Norton Shores, won Michigan’s Republican primary to face Whitmer in August. She was endorsed in this primary by Trump and is supported by the family of former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — GOP mega-donors in Michigan.
The Republican Governors Association, the group responsible for raising funds and providing infrastructure for GOP governors’ campaigns, declined to comment on Dixon’s remarks.
“Tudor Dixon’s comments are dangerous, an insult to law enforcement who protect us, and totally disqualifying for the role of governor of Michigan. Dixon’s supporters in the DeVos family and at the RGA should condemn his dangerous extremism” , said Sam Newton, spokesperson for the Democratic Governors Association. said in a statement.
Polls have consistently shown Whitmer with a lead in the race.
This lead by Whitmer is partly prompted by a renewed interest in abortion following the US Supreme Court’s decision to end federal abortion rights. Whitmer has pledged to protect abortion rights in a state where Republicans control the legislature, and Democrats successfully pushed for a referendum on this year’s ballot that would enshrine abortion rights in the state. state constitution.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat up for re-election in November, tweeted that “Dixon’s statement is disgusting.”
Whitmer, Nessel wrote on Twitter, “is the victim of a very serious conspiracy to kidnap and assassinate him. Anyone who would shed light on such an effort is not fit to hold public office at any level. it would be.”
This story was updated with additional developments on Friday.