Dixon joins far-right leaders at CPAC to drag Whitmer, Trump calls kidnapping plot ‘fake’

By: - August 8, 2022 12:39 pm

Former President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC | CSPAN screenshot

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon shared a stage last week at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas with former President Donald Trump, who sang her praises, and autocratic Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Orban, who is known for his attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and immigration, kicked off the far-right conference Thursday, with a speech where he called on Republicans to “unite our forces” with other far-right European countries against “progressives.”

“They want to give up on western values and create a new world, a post-western world. Who is going to stop them if we don’t?” Orban told the crowd. 

Many of the topics Orban covered on Thursday reflect the recent culture wars pushed by far-right Republicans in the U.S, like ridding schools of “gender ideology” and prohibiting sam-sex marriages. 

“The mother is a woman, the father is a man. Leave our kids alone,” Orban said. 

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, right-wing Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his opinion that the court should “reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents,” rulings that codified rights to contraception access and same-sex marriage.

Tudor Dixon speaks at CPAC | CSPAN screenshot

On Saturday, Trump and Dixon took the stage, slamming Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for COVID-19 lockdowns, which haven’t been in place for over a year, and inflation. 

“It’s so exciting to be chosen by the great state of Michigan to help end the long oppressive reign of the queen of lockdowns, Gretchen Whitmer,” Dixon said. “I can’t describe how excited I am about the opportunity we have in Michigan to finally stand up for families who can’t afford gas or their groceries, and for their children who saw their schools closed, the halls of learning locked because the current governor was more interested in seizing control of the state than helping our students.”

Whitmer closed school buildings in March 2020 when COVID-19 first hit the state. That school year was wrapped up virtually, but since fall 2020, local officials have determined whether schools have been open in-person or online. 

COVID-19 has sickened about 2.7 million Michiganders and has killed 37,534 people.

Trump said he is hopeful Dixon can “straighten the state out.”

When Trump took the stage, he continued touting conspiracies, without evidence, about the FBI working against Republicans during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and through their findings from their investigation into the 2020 plot of militia members to kidnap and kill Whitmer. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday during a campaign rally at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. | Ken Coleman

“The thing they did involving Gretchen Whitmer was fake. Just like those who instigated January 6. It was a fake,” Trump said. “Gretchen Whitmer was in less danger than the people sitting in this room right now, it seems to me. You look to see what happened and trials are going on all over the place.”

Trump is referring to a plot to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home in northern Michigan in October 2020 with plans to execute her. Two of the men who were allegedly involved in the plot were found not guilty, but two other men will be retried this week in a federal court after a trial in April ended with a split jury decision. 

Dixon and Whitmer will face off in the general election on Nov. 8. 


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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8.