Tudor Dixon, the Republican Party’s pick to lead the state of Michigan, mocked his incumbent opponent on Friday for being the target of a kidnapping plot that landed some of the organizers in federal prison.
More than a dozen men have been arrested in 2020 for conspiring to capture Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) by force, potentially killing her.
Dixon tried to draw a parallel between the kidnapping plan and Whitmer’s policies, which Dixon says are bad for Michigan businesses, but she ended up delivering a bizarre punchline.
“The sad thing is that Gretchen is going to tie your hands, put a gun to your head and ask if you’re ready to talk. For someone so scared of being kidnapped, Gretchen Whitmer is good to take cases hostage and hold them for ransom,” Dixon said.
His comments drew applause from the crowd of about 300 people at the Polish American Cultural Center in Troy, Michigan, according to The Detroit News.
Whitmer’s campaign responded with a statement highlighting the seriousness of the plot against her.
“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 joke shows that she is absolutely unfit to serve in public office,” he read.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said Dixon’s comments were “disgusting.”
“Anyone who would shed light on such an effort is not fit to hold public office at any level,” Nessel wrote in a tweet.
But Dixon was undeterred, poking fun at Whitmer at a different event later Friday. She recalled the governor’s meeting with President Joe Biden at the North American International Auto Show last week in Detroit.
“The look on his face was like, ‘Oh my God, this is happening. I’d rather be kidnapped by the FBI,’ Dixon said, describing Biden’s hand touching Whitmer’s.
Dixon also repeated his previous line for the Detroit crowd.
“Earlier today I said, ‘You know, Gretchen Whitmer, since she’s so worried about a kidnapping, she shouldn’t have held our businesses hostage. And they were like, ‘She made this kidnapping joke,'” Dixon said. “And I’m like, no, that wasn’t a joke. If you were scared of this, you should know what it’s like to have your life ripped away from you.
It was an apparent reference to Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic.
Whitmer’s director of communications, Maeve Coyle, responded to the escalation on Friday.
Dixon supports eliminating personal income taxes and nearly halving what his website calls “Michigan’s enormous regulatory code” to “unlock economic growth and attract new businesses and talented workforce in the state”. Dixon would “quickly enact pro-growth policies and rehabilitate the state’s image as hostile to business,” but his website doesn’t offer many details.
She won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump this summer.
In October 2020, the FBI charged six men with federal crimes for conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, while several others charged with involvement were charged with state crimes.
The men were particularly angry at the precautions taken by Whitmer to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic. One told an FBI informant he needed 200 men to “storm” the state Capitol so they could capture Whitmer and bring her to trial in Wisconsin for “treason,” according to the FBI affidavit.
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