Whitmer to Trump: Talk about the pandemic, not me

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday that although President Donald Trump incites violence against public servants and inspires domestic terrorism, she would rather focus on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic than his incendiary rhetoric.

“Every moment that we are not focused on the fact that there are 220,000 Americans who died from this virus is good for him,” Whitmer, a Democrat, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview.

“So in that sense, as he incites additional violence against people who are just trying to save one another’s lives, it’s good for him,” she said. “And that’s why I don’t want to talk about him endangering public servants’ lives. I want to talk about what he hasn’t done, and that’s his job.”

The U.S. Covid-19 case count passed 8 million Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and more than 219,000 Americans have died from the disease.

Whitmer’s remarks were apparently in response to Trump’s campaign rally Saturday in Muskegon, Mich., during which he criticized her state’s coronavirus-related restrictions and his supporters broke out into chants of “lock her up.”

The president did not attempt to quell the calls for the governor’s imprisonment, instead saying: “Lock them all up.”

Trump has repeatedly assailed Whitmer’s management of the coronavirus throughout the pandemic, even encouraging his supporters to “LIBERATE” Michigan in April. But his latest attack came less than two weeks after the FBI revealed the governor was the target of a foiled kidnapping plot.

Asked Sunday about Trump weekend rally, Whitmer said it was “incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States — 10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial and execute me — 10 days after that was uncovered, the president is at it again and inspiring and incentivizing and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism.”

Whitmer went on to argue that Trump’s language is “dangerous” not only for her family, but for “public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans.”

The governor previously condemned Trump’s rally remarks in a tweet Saturday evening, writing that his rhetoric “has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop.”

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