Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer has been the subject of numerous threats made by residents of the state across multiple Facebook groups ahead of an armed rally planned this week.
According to the Detroit Metro Times, which obtained access to four private Facebook groups, the pages have a combined 400,000 members who encourage acts of violence against Whitmer and defiance of her social-distancing orders.
Several members of the groups have called for the assassination of Whitmer ahead of Thursday’s rally, with one man writing: ‘Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down.’
Other hateful statements include: ‘Plain and simple she needs to eat lead and send a statement to the rest of the democrats that they are next.’
Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer (pictured on May 4) has been the subject of numerous threats made by residents of the state across multiple Facebook groups ahead of an armed rally planned this week
Several members of the group have called for the assassination of Whitmer ahead of Thursday’s rally, with one man writing: ‘Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down’
‘It’s time to stop talking and do something. What do you think would happen if a thousand armed Patriots showed up in Lansing demanding her resignation. They might get a few but they can’t get all of us and it might not get her out that day but it would open up some eyes here in Michigan and more importantly in Washington,’ one statement from Mike Pruitt read.
‘I wish someone would take her out permanently,’ Steve Riker wrote.
According to the Metro Times, Facebook has removed one of the groups called Michigan United for Liberty, which organized a rally at the Capitol last month.
A Facebook spokesperson said the group was removed because it violated the company’s policy against inciting violence.
The threats come just days before a planned rally at the Capitol in Lansing on Thursday. Several members wrote in the groups that they will be at the rally and hope others will be ‘armed to the teeth’.
News of the threats also comes days after Whitmer said she would support a ban on weapons inside the state Capitol after angry and armed demonstrators protesting her lockdown restrictions, stormed the Capitol building on April 30.
Whitmer denounced last month’s chaotic demonstration during an NBC News interview, saying that lawmakers should not feel threatened when they report for work during the pandemic.
‘There are legislators who are wearing bulletproof vests to go to work,’ Whitmer said Wednesday.
Last month, angry and armed demonstrators protesting the governor’s lockdown restrictions, stormed the Capitol building
Hundreds of people descended on Michigan’s Capitol building on April 30 to protest against Whitmer extending a statewide stay-at-home order. Photos from the ‘American Patriot Rally’ made headlines nationwide as many protesters were seen carrying assault rifles
‘No one should be intimidated by someone who’s bringing in an assault rifle into their workplace. And so there is conversation about changing that law.’
‘I think it’s long overdue, and I absolutely support that change,’ she added.
Hundreds of people descended on Michigan’s Capitol building on April 30 to protest against Whitmer extending a statewide stay-at-home order.
Photos from the ‘American Patriot Rally’ made headlines nationwide as many protesters were seen carrying assault rifles, swastikas and Confederate flags.
Whitmer called the scenes ‘disturbing’ and said they ‘depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country’.
Some of the group members also commended Karl Manke for defying the governor’s order that his barber shop, along with many other Michigan businesses, remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, a judge rejected a request for a restraining order and said Manke deserves a hearing if the state wants to shut down his business in Owosso, a small town 40 miles northeast of the state Capitol.
Some of the group members also brought up Karl Manke, who reopened his barber shop despite the state’s order that has closed businesses for weeks due to the coronavirus
The 77-year-old has become a symbol of resistance to Whitmer’s sweeping stay-home order and other restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.
‘Keep it going. Karl is the Rosa Parks of Michigan,’ one person wrote.
Another user said: ‘One for the patriots 0 for the tyrannical Dictator Whittless! Keep it coming patriots we will knock her down one at a time until she and her puppets are destroyed!’
On Monday, Manke gave a statement after the judge’s ruling, saying: ‘I came into this last Monday alone, thinking I´m going to swing in the wind alone.
‘I cannot believe the support that I’ve got. It’s overwhelming.’
Supporters outside his shop chanted: ‘Karl! Karl!’
Manke reopened his barber shop on May 4, saying he was despondent over not working and that he could make his own decisions.
He was given a cease-and-desist order from state regulators last week.
‘I’m going to stay open until Jesus comes,’ Manke pledged.
The governor was asked about the barber earlier Monday.
‘I also know a lot of people who could use a haircut, yours truly included as well as my husband. … I expect people to follow the law,’ Whitmer said. ‘These executive orders are not a suggestion. They’re not optional. They’re not helpful hints.’
State regulators consider the barber shop to be a danger to public health because of the pandemic and will seek a court hearing as soon as possible, said Ryan Jarvi, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.
Manke’s attorney, Dave Kallman, said the state has gone too far.
‘If you can walk down the aisles at Walmart, you can walk down the aisles in Karl’s barber shop and practice the same physical distancing, hand-washing, all the things we’ve been hearing on and on,’ Kallman said.