Thirteen people were charged Oct. 8 in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The domestic terrorism plot included plans to overthrow state governments that the suspects believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, according to CNN. Six people were charged federally with conspiracy to kidnap, and seven other individuals, who are associated with the militia group Wolverine Watchmen, were charged by the state, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Whitmer, who is a Democrat, gained recognition when she garnered praise for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was speculated to be one of the candidates considered to become Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, according to Politico.
Two of the individuals charged in the alleged kidnapping plot are former Marines, Joseph Morrison and Daniel Harris, according to CNN. Harris was charged federally, and Morrison was charged by state authorities.
“We are aware of the circumstances surrounding the two individuals and will assist the investigating authorities in any way we can,” the Marine Corps said in a statement. “The serious allegations are not a reflection of the Marine Corps, do not reflect the oath every Marine takes to support and defend the constitution and do not align with our core values of honor, courage and commitment.”
The individuals involved are suspected of attempting to identify addresses of those in law enforcement so they could target them. They also planned an operation to attack the Capitol building of Michigan where they would kidnap government officials, Nessel said.
Authorities believe a number of the suspects arrested are supporters of the Boogaloo movement, an anti-government extremist movement that formed in 2019, a law enforcement source involved in the investigation told CNN.
Whitmer said she never imagined anything like this would happen. She also accused President Donald Trump of encouraging extremism.
“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 at a press conference. “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.”
Trump responded to Whitmer’s statement by saying she has been a bad governor.
“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,” he tweeted. “I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence.”
Some Republicans worry that Trump’s reaction will hurt him in Michigan, a state that he is trying to win. Some Michigan Republicans are critical of Trump and disappointed that state GOP leaders fail to correct him.
“I’m astounded in the last 24 hours no new Republican has come out and renounced Trump’s rhetoric,” Jeff Timmer, a Republican strategist who has distanced himself from the Republican party since Trump’s election, said to the Associated Press. “Nobody has dared stick their head out.”