MICHIGAN Gov Gretchen Whitmer decried last week's protests inside the state capitol and on Sunday said the heated demonstrations displayed some of the "worst racism and awful parts" of US history.
In an interview on CNN's State of the Union, Whitmer called the protest of armed citizens "outrageous" and said their behavior "is not representative of who we are."
"Some of the outrageousness of what happened at our capitol depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country," she told host Jake Tapper.
"The behavior you've seen in all of the clips is not representative of who we are in Michigan."
Whitmer's criticism comes as:
- Armed civilians stormed the Michigan state house on Thursday in protest of the coronavirus lockdown order in place
- Top-ranking Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey called the militia men who protested "jacka**es"
- Trump urged the governor on Friday to 'give a little' and make a deal with protesters, who he called 'very good people'
- A frustrated pilot charted the skies on Friday to write 'F U' as a message to Whitmer for extending Michigan's lockdown order
Armed civilians – some of whom carried confederate flags, swastikas, nooses and signs depicting Whitmer as a Nazi – stormed the state house on Thursday in protest of coronavirus lockdown orders.
More than 100 people forced their way into the capitol building, with the group at one point changing: "Heil Whitmer."
Hours after the confrontation, the governor issued three executive orders to extend Michigan's stay-at-home order through May 15.
President Donald Trump urged Whitmer on Friday to "give a little" to protesters demands and "put out the fire".
Amid Trump's call for Whitmer to negotiate, he praised the angry protesters as "very good people."
That same day, pilot Ed Frederick spent about an hour flying over Grand Rapids to spell out his thoughts about Whitmer's decision: "F U," with an arrow pointing directly at her home.
The 45-year-old Michigander told The New York Post on Friday he believes her decision was "a power trip".
"The government, no matter Democrats or Republicans, always seems like they're trying to do something just to prove they're doing something, without weighing the ramifications."
Frederick, who owns a small business just outside of Grand Rapids, argued that a statewide lockdown is unnecessary since the largest number of cases are concentrated in the southeast region near Detroit.
"There are 82 counties, but really only four need to be locked down."
Frederick believes Whitmer enforced the "draconian" statewide order because a smaller lockdown around Detroit would ruffle feathers among her base.
"[Whitmer] says this is for the safety of Michigan, but I think it's for the safety of her keeping her votes, because the southeast is highly democratic," he asserted.
However, Whitmer and health experts have argued that state lockdowns help contain the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 3,800 people in her state.
The governor said Thursday that cases have doubled within a week in counties throughout northern and western Michigan.
"Michigan now has more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19," Whitmer said in a statement.
"The virus has killed more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam war. Extending this order is vital to the health and safety of every Michigander."
As of Sunday more than 67,400 Americans have died from the coronavirus, with 4,020 of those deaths occurring in Michigan.
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