Tudor Dixon, the GOP’s choice to govern the state of Michigan, mocked his current 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 were arrested in 2020 for plotting to capture the governor of Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer (D) by force, potentially to kill her.
Dixon tried to draw a parallel between the kidnapping plan and Whitmer’s policies, which Dixon says are bad for Michigan businesses, but ended up telling a weird joke.
“The sad thing is that Gretchen ties your hands, puts a gun to your head and asks if you’re ready to talk. For someone so worried about being kidnapped, Gretchen Whitmer sure is good at taking businesses hostage and holding them for ransom,” Dixon said.
His comments drew applause from a 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 emphasizing the seriousness of the conspiracy against her.
“Threats of violence, whether to Governor Whitmer or to 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 utterly incapable of serving in public office. ”, she said.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, called Dixon’s comments “disgusting.”
“Anyone who takes such an effort lightly is unfit to hold public office at any level,” Nessel wrote in a tweet.
But Dixon was undeterred and taunted Whitmer at a different event later on Friday. She recalled the governor’s meeting with President Joe Biden at last week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“The look on his face was like, ‘Oh my God, this is happening. He would rather be kidnapped by the FBI,’” Dixon said, describing Biden’s hand touching Whitmer’s.
Dixon also repeated his earlier line for the Detroit crowd.
“Earlier today I said, ‘You know, Gretchen Whitmer, since she’s so worried about kidnappings, she shouldn’t have taken our businesses hostage.’ And they said, ‘She made this kidnapping joke,’” Dixon said. “And I said, no, that was not a joke. If you were afraid of that, you should know what it’s like to have your life taken away.”
It was an apparent reference to Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic.
Whitmer Communications Director Maeve Coyle responded Friday to the escalation.
Dixon supports eliminating the personal income tax and nearly halving what his website calls “Michigan’s huge regulatory code” to “unlock economic growth and attract new business and job talent to the state.” Dixon would “quickly enact pro-growth policies and rehabilitate the state’s image as unfriendly to business,” but his website doesn’t offer many details.
He garnered 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 accused of involvement were charged with state crimes.
The men were particularly angry about the precautions Whitmer enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic. One of them told an FBI informant that he needed 200 men to “storm” the state Capitol so he could capture Whitmer and put her on trial in Wisconsin for “treason,” according to the FBI affidavit.