Less than two weeks after a group of domestic terrorists were charged with constructing a plan to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, she has already re-entered the election circuit. Over the weekend, the Democratic governor went door-to-door in Michigan’s Oakland County to canvass for Joe Biden before attending Biden’s Friday campaign stop in Southfield.
But naturally, President Donald Trump, who also spent his Saturday in Michigan at a (very non-socially distanced) rally, took this as another opportunity to mock Whitmer — his favorite “woman governor.” In his latest standoff with the Michigan governor, who has defied Trump’s desire to re-open states at-large by imposing strict lockdown measures, he led his rally supporters in chanting, “Lock her up!,” which Trump then turned into, “Lock them all up” — a not-so-veiled reference to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Whitmer swiftly shut down Trump’s antagonistic chants on NBC’s Meet the Press the following day. “You know, it's incredibly disturbing that the President of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial and execute me, 10 days after that was uncovered, the President is at it again and inspiring and incentivizing and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism."
“It is wrong. It’s got to end. It is dangerous, not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans,” Whitmer said.
Despite the persistent verbal attacks Trump has thrown Whitmer’s way in recent months, it doesn’t look like the president is swaying anyone. While Trump’s baseless attacks on women leadership might have worked in 2016, that’s not the case in 2020. As of Sunday, Biden is polling better than Trump in Michigan: Biden currently holds 53% — a nine percent lead over Trump’s current 44%.
This might come as a surprise to the president, but it’s quite clear to everyone else: Trump has attempted to “reclaim” suburban voters in swing states like Michigan, using a particularly racist rhetoric that is no longer translating to his presumed “suburban housewife” voter.
It's certainly not for a lack of trying, though. Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” back in April in response to Whitmer taking the proper precautions against the pandemic, which she continued to do even after armed protests became normal at the state’s Capitol. He also called Whitmer a “dictator” a week after the plot to kidnap her was revealed, a response she was “shocked” to see.
Trump may think that tearing down Whitmer is the answer to securing voters in Michigan, even using his in-laws to double down and defend him. And while the polling in Michigan looks favorable for Biden, make no mistake: voting in this election is still of the utmost importance.