Governors across the nation are under fire for what many consider their authoritarian actions after the coronavirus outbreak. The COVID shutdowns have tried the nerves of countless Americans, and the restrictions put on citizens by their elected officials have angered many. Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer – a Democrat – has caught a lot of heat for the constraints she put on her constituents. On Oct. 2, a Michigan Supreme Court ruling found she’d exceeded her authority in the COVID mandates forced on the citizens. In fact, some allegedly felt she has failed so absolutely as a governor that they hatched a plan to kidnap and “try” her for these supposed crimes. Thirteen men have been arrested for the plot, but that’s only part of the story. When reading the news reports about the arrest, one wonders: Is the media putting the cart before the horse in insinuating these guys are Republicans or right-wingers?
The Plot: Kidnap the Governor
Early in June, according to authorities, a group of men started surveilling the governor’s home and working on combat and shooting drills. The FBI claimed the men also tried to build their own explosives and were trying to stage an effort to “take” the state Capitol with 200 people and create their own “self-sufficient society.”
On Oct. 7, a raid was conducted on a house in suburban Detroit where six men were arrested: Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft, Adam Fox, Kaleb Franks, Ty Garbin, and Daniel Harris. The FBI identified Croft and Fox as the ringleaders of this particular group. They “agreed to unite others in their cause” to “overthrow” governments that they felt were in violation of the Constitution. The plot was discovered via an informant from a local militia.
The group tried to recruit members from a local militia known as Wolverine Watchmen. Seven Watchmen – Paul Bellar, Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Michael Null, William Null, Pete Musico, and Joseph Morrison – were also arrested. These individuals were charged with plotting to overthrow governments, attack the state Capitol, and incite a “civil war” by Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Authorities said a phone call from June 14 had Fox saying he needed 200 men to storm the Capitol and to take hostages, including the governor, and that they would “try the State Government for treason.” All of this was to be done before the presidential election. On July 18, during another meeting, talk turned to attacking a Michigan State police facility as well as “shooting up” Whitmer’s vacation home. On July 27, Fox told the FBI informant, who was wearing a wire, that the best way to kidnap the governor would be as she was traveling to or leaving her vacation residence. He said the job was a “snatch and grab” and to “Grab the f****n’ governor. Just grab the b***h. Because at that point, we do that dude – it’s over.”
The mainstream media is labeling the men as Republicans and right-wingers, but is that the truth? Are they jumping the gun in identifying the offenders? What do we really know about any of them at this time? If they are all of the same mind as Brandon Caserta, then the media mouthpieces ought to rethink their strategy.
Robby Starbuck’s Twitter page has several videos posted by Caserta. In it, the militia man talks about anarchy and his dislike for the police, saying, “They are oppressing you for a paycheck. If you’re still supporting law enforcement, you are supporting the people who are enforcing slavery on everyone else.” Not many people on the right are against law enforcement, so that is a big indication that this person, and those in the two militia groups, are not likely of the right-wing persuasion.
Starbuck highlights several of Caserta’s videos, commenting on each. For one, he said, “In this video he poses in front of an anarchist flag to tell people that the Declaration of Independence is an anarchist document. Brandon Caserta is an anarchist.”
Biden and Whitmer Blame Trump
Never one to let a good opportunity to disparage the president go to waste, former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Gov. Whitmer called out Trump, blaming the commander in chief for the plots against the Michigan governor.
Biden claims that Trump’s call to “liberate Michigan” back in April, as well as other states whose constituents were trying to break free of so many restrictions, is encouraging these kinds of plots and attempts against lawmakers. “Why can’t the president just say, ‘Stop. Stop, stop, stop, and we will pursue you if you don’t. So, stop,’” he asked.
Trump has referred to Whitmer as the “lockdown queen,” saying, “What she’s done to that place is horrible. She’s locked it up. She’s got people like living in prison. The courts just overturned her. They said what you’re doing is unconstitutional.” This obviously hasn’t earned him any brownie points with the governor. In fact, Ms. Whitmer blamed the president for the planned attack on her, saying:
“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,” she added. “‘Stand back and stand by,’ he told them. Stand back and stand by. 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.”
This, of course, was in reference to Trump’s lack of a strong response against the Proud Boys, whom some have labeled white supremacists and terrorists. Meanwhile, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) calls Antifa a myth, Biden says they are an “idea,” and the left is loath to do anything to stop them or BLM from terrorizing and destroying cities. A plot was thankfully thwarted, but what about all the citizens and business owners in cities such as Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis who continue to suffer from ongoing protests, riots, and looting? In many of these Democrat-run cities, the mayors – and even state governors – have adamantly refused assistance from the National Guard while they blame the president for their territories being overtaken and destroyed.
Shouldn’t the narrative be a terrorist is a terrorist, no matter which side of the aisle they get their ideologies? If Proud Boys or another group commonly associated with the right were the ones destroying property and businesses, looting, and taking over cities, like the months-long protests from BLM and Antifa, you could bet your last penny that the Dems would be calling for an all out war against them. Violence is violence, no matter who commits it. Politics should not determine who is justified and who is not.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.