Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump and a senior advisor to President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, defended the president's continued attacks on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, claiming he was just "having fun." Whitmer, a Democrat who put strict coronavirus measures in place early on during the pandemic, was the target of a thwarted kidnapping plot, federal authorities announced earlier this month. That did not stop Trump from lashing out at her repeatedly since then.
The president was "having fun at a Trump rally," Trump said on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning, reports Politico. "He wasn't doing anything, I don't think, to provoke people to threaten this woman at all," the former Inside Edition producer said. "The president was at a rally... It's a fun, light atmosphere. Of course, he wasn’t encouraging people to threaten this woman. That's ridiculous."
Lara Trump tells #CNNSOTU that Trump wasn’t doing anything to “threaten” people with “lock her up” chants . She says “he was just having fun.” Described the atmosphere at “light hearted.”— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) October 18, 2020
Just hours after federal authorities announced they thwarted an attempted kidnapping of Whitmer, President Trump published a series of tweets criticizing Whitmer. He suggested she should personally thank her instead of calling him a white supremacist. He said she has done a "terrible job" and "locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities." He later called on her to "open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!"
On Saturday, the president had a campaign rally in Muskegon, Michigan, where he told his supporters they "got to get your governor to open up your state. Okay? And get your schools open. Get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?" His supporters began chanting "Lock her up!" and the president did not stop them. "Lock them all up," Trump said during the chant.
The President mentions the Governor of Michigan, the crowd chants lock her up, and the President says lock them all up pic.twitter.com/9wuB7blnoP— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 17, 2020
On Sunday, Trump defended her father-in-law, saying "people are very frustrated" with Whitmer. "You're hearing people's frustration play out there at the Trump rally," she said. The attack had "nothing to do with" the thwarted kidnapping. "It was the president's Department of Justice that actually thwarted" the plot, she added.
"This is exactly the rhetoric that 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," Whitmer tweeted Saturday, in response to President Trump's comments. On Sunday morning, she appeared on NBC, where she called it "incredibly disturbing" to hear the president "inspiring and incentivizing and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism." She called for people on both sides of the political aisle to "step up and call this out and bring the heat down."