Gov. Gretchen Whitmer went live from the Michigan Capitol on Thursday to respond to the state and federal charges against 13 members of two militia groups for allegedly conspiring to kidnap her.
This came after Attorney General Dana Nessel Office charged seven individuals for acts of terrorism under Michigan state law in a press conference earlier on Thursday. According to a release, Nessel filed a total of 19 state felony charges. The FBI also released an affidavit charging separate six individuals for conspiring to kidnap Whitmer.
"When I put my hand on the Bible and took the oath of office 22 months ago, I knew this job would be hard," Whitmer said. "But I'll be honest, I never could have imagined anything like this.
In her speech, Whitmer thanked the law enforcement, the FBI agents, and the Michigan State Police troopers who participated in the operation under the leadership of Colonel Joe Gasper.
"I also want to thank Attorney General Nessel and the US Attorney's Berge and Schneider, and their teams for pursuing criminal charges that hopefully, will lead to convictions, bringing these sick and depraved men to justice," Whitmer said. "As a mom with two teenage daughters, and three step sons, my husband and I are eternally grateful to everyone who put themselves in harm's way to keep our family safe."
Whitmer said the year 2020 has been hard for everyone due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, and it's not over yet.
"But here's what I know," Whitmer said. "We're Michiganders — we have grit, we have a heart. And we're tough as hell. We made it through the Great Recession, we made it through auto bankruptcies, we made it through floods and polar vortexes. But none of us has faced a challenge like COVID-19."
The governor went on to say the COVID-19 virus is the enemy, and it doesn't care if one is a Democrat or a Republican, young or old, rich or poor.
She also talked about the presidential debate last week and President Donald Trump's remarks on white supremacists.
"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," Whitmer said. "'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. When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit. When they stoke snd contribute to hate speech, they are complicit."
Whitmer also emphasized heavily on the continued efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, and asks Michiganders to continue abiding by safety precautions.
"As your governor, I will never stop doing everything in my power to keep you and your family safe," Whitmer said. "You don't have to agree with me. But I do ask one thing. Never forget that we are all in this together. Let's show a little kindness and a lot more empathy. Let's give one another a little grace, and let's take care of each other. Wear your mask. Stay six feet apart. Wash your hands frequently. And look out for your neighbors. We are Michiganders. I know we can get through this. We will get through this. So let's get through it together."
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