Noah Arbit speaks on the steps of the state Capitol building in Lansing at a rally in support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo via Facebook)

Group rallying in support of Whitmer condemns kidnapping, supports Whitmer’s COVID-19 orders.

A rally was held on the state Capitol lawn in Lansing on Thursday night in support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, after plans to overthrow the government as well as kidnap and harm Whitmer originating from unhappiness with her COVID-19 restrictions were thwarted by federal agents.

About two dozen people gathered with large cut-out letters spelling “BIG GRETCH”, Gov. Whitmer’s nickname. 

The vigil was organized by Noah Arbit, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus, with organizing help from Democratic activist group The Blue Brigade.

The rally was attended by Michigan State Rep. Julie Brixie (69th House District). 

“Not a day in which we are proud to be Michiganders, because what happened today does not represent who we are as Michiganders,” Arbit said in a speech on the Capitol steps, in a video posted to his Twitter. “We’re here to support our Governor Gretchen Whitmer because for months, she has done everything in her power to make all of us more safe.”

“What we have seen today is heinous and unspeakable, and we all need to come together, whether we are Republicans or Democrats, to show our support for Gov. Whitmer and to denounce these plots and heinous attacks,” Arbit continued. 

To Arbit, this type of violence in this realm should grab the attention of not only Michiganders in general but the Jewish community as well.

“This is political violence, and we know as Jews that whenever political violence becomes the norm of how a society mitigates and resolves political conflict instead of by the ballot box, Jews and other minorities are often the first to be attacked,” Arbit told the JN.

“So I think this poses real concerns for the Jewish community as well as every Michigander who cares about democracy.”

Arbit says the rally was put together in only a couple of hours, and believes it certainly does not represent the full scope and scale of the support for the Governor in the state. 

The foiled plot mainly consisted of a group of men who wanted to take Gov. Whitmer hostage before the election, surveilled her vacation home in both August and September, and planned to buy explosives. The group also gathered for firearms training and combat drills, and planned to target and kill police officers, according to the FBI. 

The plot also included at least seven members of Wolverine Watchmen, a Michigan militia. Thirteen men were arrested and charged in total.

They wanted to create a “self-sufficient” society free from what they called “unconstitutional state governments” and discussed plans to storm the Capitol and take hostages, according to FBI documents filed in court.

All 13 suspects were charged and were in custody on Thursday, according to officials. Other media reports cite witnesses who say some of the suspects were spotted at anti-Whitmer rallies held in Lansing at the start of lockdown, which included swastikas, Confederate flags and armed protesters.

In a press conference on Thursday, Whitmer thanked the law enforcement who participated and had a message for her state. 

“Let me say this loud and clear. Hatred, bigotry, and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan,” she said. “If you break the law or conspire to commit heinous acts of violence … we will find you. We will hold you accountable. And we will bring you to justice.”

“I want the people of Michigan to know this: As your governor, I will never stop doing everything in my power to keep you and your family safe. You don’t have to agree with me, but I do ask one thing. Never forget that we are all in this together.”

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