(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she "never could have imagined anything like this" about the foiled plot to kidnap her.
Six people have been arrested by federal authorities during a massive raid Wednesday night. Additionally, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that seven other people, linked to the militia group "Wolverine Watchmen" have been charged by the state in relation to the plot.
Whitmer thanked law enforcement and said she was grateful to everyone who "put themselves in harm's way" to keep her family safe.
She then sharply criticized President Donald Trump for "stoking distrust" and "giving comfort to those who spread fear and division."
"This should be a moment for national unity where we all pull together as Americans to meet this challenge head-on," she said.
She said Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups, comparing them to the militia groups involved in the kidnapping plot.
"When our leaders speak, their words matter," she said. "They carry weight."
She accused the president of encouraging domestic terrorists, calling him "complicit in hate speech."
During the first presidential debate, Trump danced around a question from moderator Chris Wallace about whether he was willing to condemn white supremacists and military groups.
He said, “Proud Boys — Stand back, stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not right-wing problem..... This is a left wing problem."
Whitmer called on Michiganders to show a little kindness and a lot more empathy to each other.
"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, conspire to commit heinous acts of violence against anyone, we will find you, hold you accountable and bring you to justice.
According to a criminal complaint, a Michigan-based militia group attempted to recruit members for the operation, which included storming the Capitol building in Lansing and taking hostages, including Whitmer. The plan was reportedly supposed to be executed before the November 2020 election.
The militia group reportedly held several meetings over the summer where they participated in firearms training and combat drills; they also attempted to build IED devices, which were faulty and did not detonate as planned, according to the complaint.
The group then reportedly decided to abduct the governor at her vacation home and take her to a secure location in Wisconsin for "trial."