The Trump Campaign Is 'Inspiring and Incentivizing' Attacks on Gretchen Whitmer

The campaign has falsely accused Whitmer, who was recently the target of an alleged kidnapping plot, of calling for the president to be assassinated.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks at Beech Woods Recreation Center, in Southfield, Mich., Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The campaign of President Donald Trump falsely accused Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of calling for Trump to be assassinated, because no one on the campaign has apparently ever worked at a restaurant.

On Sunday, the Trump War Room account tweeted a screenshot of Whitmer’s appearance that morning on ‘Meet the Press,’ which showed a tiny sign reading, “86 45,” a reference to Trump, the 45th president. “86 can be shorthand for killing someone,” the campaign tweeted. “Whitmer is encouraging assassination attempts against President Trump just weeks after someone sent a ricin-laced package to the White House.”


“Gretchen Whitmer can't have it both ways. These are the standards she set,” the campaign added.

In common parlance, 86’d means to get rid of something, and the term is widely believed to have originated in food service as a way to designate an item that wasn’t available anymore or a customer that should be ejected. There’s no evidence that Whitmer was implying Trump should be killed, rather than thrown out of office.

What the campaign conveniently didn’t mention is that Whitmer herself was the subject of an alleged far-right kidnapping plot that was uncovered earlier this month. The FBI arrested 14 men for allegedly conspiring to kidnap Whitmer and “storm” the Michigan state capitol in Lansing. Text messages obtained by FOX 17 in Michigan showed a group chat discussing ways to kill Whitmer.

“Have one person go to her house, knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her,” one message suggested.

Whitmer called Trump “complicit” in the threats against her because of his rhetoric. He has pilloried the governor, who was elected in 2018. In the spring, when the pandemic was still in its early stages, Trump encouraged anti-government protests by tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

Even after the plot was uncovered, he has continued his attacks on Whitmer.

“Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist—while Biden and Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs that burn down Democrat run cities,” Trump tweeted October 8.


He said last week that she “wants to be a dictator,” and during a rally in Michigan on Saturday, the crowd chanted “lock her up” in reference to Whitmer. Trump responded: “Lock them all up.”

Whitmer responded in a tweet by saying that Trump was endangering the lives of her and other public officials.

In the Meet the Press appearance, Whitmer said Trump was encouraging domestic terrorism.

“Ten days after that [plot] uncovered, the president's at it again and inspiring and incentivizing and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism," Whitmer said.

"People of goodwill on both sides of the aisle need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down,” she added.