Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Tuesday that he did not know about death threats against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during anti-lockdown protests this spring, but she doesn’t buy it.
During a congressional committee meeting, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) questioned Barr on his federal enforcement of Black Lives Matter protests, while allowing anti-lockdown protests to go unchallenged this spring.
On Wednesday night, CNN anchor Erin Burnett asked Whitmer if she believed Barr’s comments.
Whitmer said she doesn’t, and added that “the American public deserves answers.”
“And that includes even governors who could have used a little support from our federal government when we’re trying to save lives and people are threatening to take ours,” Whitmer said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Armed protesters carrying signs threatening the governor’s life at Michigan’s state Capitol in April made national headlines. It was one of the largest anti-lockdown protests at the time, especially as Michigan was under a strict stay-home order as one of the hardest hit states for coronavirus at the time.
The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Barr, announced Wednesday that federal agents will be deployed to Detroit to help stop gun violence, while Black Lives Matter protests continue in the city.
Whitmer called the demonstrations in Detroit “righteous protests,” and added she is concerned about the federal government getting involved.
“What we are worried about … is that the federal government is going to come in and do what they did in Portland,” Whitmer said.
In Portland, officers in unmarked vehicles have arrested people without explanation and used excessive force against protesters during peaceful protests.
“That is not acceptable; that is not necessary. We have seen peaceful protests in Detroit. So long as the representations from the feds are that they’re going to come in and supplement local police forces in combating crime, that’s fine. But if it’s something different than that, that’s not going to be ok,” Whitmer said.
On Thursday, Whitmer also spoke up against President Donald Trump, who suggested delaying the presidential election in November, something a sitting president does not have the authority to do.
Trump tweeted Thursday: “with Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
Whitmer said the president is “more focused on his chances in the 2020 election” than on the safety concerns of in-person voting.
“The truth is that mail-in absentee voting is safe, simple, and patriotic – so much so that the president and more than a dozen of his closest advisors have done it,” Whitmer said in a statement. “If we could hold an election in 1864 in the midst of a Civil War threatening to tear our country apart, we can and will hold one in 2020. It’s time for the president to get his priorities straight and work with Congress on a bipartisan recovery package that protects our families, frontline workers, and small business owners.”
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