President Trump responded Thursday evening to accusations by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that he was responsible for the 13 men arrested this week for plotting to kidnap the governor.
The president noted that the attempt had been thwarted with the assistance of the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department under his supervision.
Whitmer had earlier called the president "complicit" in the actions of those arrested, leaning into accusations that the president supports white supremacists and violent militia groups.
"Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups," said Whitmer, referring to Trump's comments at the first presidential debate with Joe Biden. "Stand back and stand by, he told them... Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. when our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit."
Joe Biden also criticized the president on Twitter, also accusing him of being complicit in the crime.
Trump went on to denounce the arrested group of men and criticized the governor's lockdown policies that allegedly led to the men's kidnapping plot.
🔦 A video also surfaced Thursday of Brandon Caserta – one of the ringleaders of the alleged kidnapping plot – calling Trump "a tyrant" and an "enemy."