Tudor Dixon, the Republican Party’s choice to lead the state of Michigan, mocked her incumbent 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 conspiracy to overthrow Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) forcibly captured, possibly 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 in the end she delivered a bizarre punch line.
“The sad part is Gretchen ties your hands, puts a gun to your head, and asks if you want to talk. For someone so concerned about being kidnapped, Gretchen Whitmer is certainly good at holding things hostage and holding them for ransom,” Dixon said.
Her comments elicited applause from the crowd of about 300 at the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy, Michigan, according to The Detroit News.
Whitmer’s campaign responded with a statement highlighting the gravity of the conspiracy against her.
“Threats of violence — whether from Governor Whitmer or from candidates and elected officials across the aisle — are no laughing matter, and the fact that Tudor Dixon thinks it’s a joke shows she’s absolutely unfit to serve in public office,” it reads.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said Dixon’s comments were “repugnant.”
“Anyone who would make such an effort lightly is not fit to hold public office at any level,” Nessel wrote in a tweet.
But Dixon was undeterred, spotting Whitmer at another 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 her face was like, ‘Oh my god, this is happening. I’d rather be kidnapped by the FBI,'” Dixon said, describing Biden’s hand touching Whitmer’s.
Dixon also repeated her earlier sentence to the Detroit audience.
“Earlier today I said, ‘You know, Gretchen Whitmer, since she’s so concerned about kidnapping, she shouldn’t have taken our companies hostage.’ And they said, ‘She made this kidnapping joke,’ said Dixon. “And I’m like, no, that wasn’t a joke. If that’s what you were afraid of, you should know what it’s like to have your life taken from you.”
It was a clear reference to Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic.
Whitmer’s communications director, Maeve Coyle, responded to the escalation Friday.
Dixon supports abolishing the personal income tax and halving nearly half of what her website calls “Michigan’s massive regulatory code” to “unlock economic growth and attract new businesses and workforce talent to the state.” Dixon would “quickly adopt a pro-growth policy and restore the state’s image as hostile to business,” but her website doesn’t offer much detail.
She received the approval of former President Donald Trump this summer.
In October 2020, the FBI charged six men with federal crimes for conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer, while several others charged with state crimes were charged.
The men were especially angry about the precautions Whitmer was taking 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 Capitol so they could capture Whitmer and try her in Wisconsin for “treason,” according to the FBI’s affidavit.