Angry Michiganders fired off threatening Facebook posts against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — some even promoting her assassination — over her statewide stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus crisis, according to a new report.
Members of four private Facebook groups, accessed by The Detroit Metro Times this week, encouraged violence and flouting the governor’s social distancing orders. The pages have a combined 400,000 members, according to the report.
“We need a good old fashioned lynch mob to storm the Capitol, drag her tyrannical ass out onto the street and string her up as our forefathers would have,” John Campbell Sr. wrote in a group called “People of Michigan vs. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.”
Users called the Democratic governor a “Nazi,” “spawn of the devil,” “wicked witch,” “Gestapo Gretchen” and more, according to the report.
“Drag that tyrant governor out to the front lawn,” wrote member Steve Doxsie. “Fit her for a noose.”
Other members suggested that the Democratic governor be shot, beaten, or beheaded.
One poster, James Greena, of Fennville, said that Whitmer should “eat lead and send a statement to the rest of the Democrats that they are next.”
When one member suggested the guillotine, another responded, “Good ol’ fashioned bullets work better, but I like the enthusiasm.”
Facebook said it removed one of the groups, Michigan United for Liberty, after being contacted by the Metro Times Sunday, and deleted posts from others for violating the company’s policy against inciting violence.
Many members were fueled by conspiracy theories — some claiming the coronavirus is a hoax, or a manmade disease designed to line billionaires’ pockets and force vaccinations on the public, according to the report.
Others say the state’s stay-at-home order is an unconstitutional ploy to strip away residents’ freedoms and steal the 2020 election from President Donald Trump, the outlet reported.
The disturbing posts emerged days ahead of an armed rally set to occur at the Capitol building in Lansing on Thursday, according to the report.
Back on April 30, hundreds of people, some heavily armed, participated in the “American Patriot Rally,” and on April 15, armed protesters gathered for “Operation Lansing.”
“We could’ve taken over the capital [sic] last time if we wanted,” said one Facebook group member, Chris Coffey. “This was just a display. Next time won’t be!”
The Michigan Capitol Commission delayed a decision Monday about whether to ban guns from the Capitol Building in light of concerns about the protesters’ actions.
Many members said they would like to look deeper into the issue from a legal perspective, WDIV-TV reported.
When asked about the social media threats Monday, Whitmer said, “To threaten someone else is beyond the pale,” according to The Detroit Free Press.
“I would appreciate if others would do their part to lower the heat,” she added.
She said she understood residents’ frustrations about being unable to work or cooped up at home, but urged them to follow her order. The governor added that she doesn’t object to protests as long as participants wear masks and try to stay six feet apart.
“Be respectful of fellow Michiganders,” Whitmer said. “Let’s keep our wits about us and do the next right thing.”