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Michigan GOP Chair mentions 'assassination,' calls top Democratic women leaders 'witches'

Posted at 2:59 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 19:43:56-04

(WXYZ)  — Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser called Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson “witches” during a Thursday event, according to a Facebook video.

“Our job now is to soften up those three witches and make sure that when we have good candidates to run against them that they are ready for the burning at the stake,” Weiser said.

Weiser also mentioned ‘assassination’ in reference to a comment from an event attendee about getting some GOP lawmakers out.

Governor Whitmer’s press secretary Bobby Leddy sent the following comments following the event:

“Given the dramatic increase in death threats against Michigan elected officials during the Trump Administration, this type of rhetoric is destructive and downright dangerous. We saw this firsthand when Republican legislators met with the very militias that tried to kidnap and kill the governor, and when Republican party leaders helped organize the January 6th protest at the U.S. Capitol building. As the governor has said repeatedly, it's time for people of good will on both sides of the aisle to bring down the heat and reject this kind of divisive rhetoric, because we need to stay focused on what really matters, and that's working together to get things done for Michigan's working families.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sent out a tweet on Friday afternoon, saying "Witches who magically decrease Covid spread, increase voter turnout and hold sexual predators accountable without any help from the legislature? Sign me up for that coven. Do better, Michigan GOP."

The Michigan Department of State also released the following comment:

“It is horrifically reckless and unconscionable that anyone in a position of leadership or authority - knowing full well that violent rhetoric can lead to violent acts - would make such incendiary comments targeting public officials in our state, especially after the FBI thwarted a plot to kidnap the governor last year and insurrectionists attempted to stage a national coup less than three months ago. Yet it is a sad and desperate continuation of what we’ve come to expect from the leader of a party that sent busloads of people to that insurrection, and whose colleagues met with the very militia group that attempted the kidnapping.

Secretary Benson and her colleagues have experienced firsthand how this rhetoric is later used as justification for very real threats made against government officials, election administrators and democracy itself. Any leader who does not resoundingly denounce this kind of behavior and attitude is complicit in their silence. If we’re ever going to be able to move forward and begin solving the problems facing the people of this state in a bipartisan manner, comments like this need to stop.”

In a series of tweets, Weiser released the following statement.

"I want to thank my friends and supporters who sent me thoughtful feedback today. I made some comments that are clearly being taken out of context. While I should have chosen my words more carefully, anyone who knows me understands I would never advocate for violence. I’ve spoken with Rep(s) Upton and Meijer personally. My off-the-cuff comments received more scrutiny from the media and leftists in the last 24 hours than the governor’s handling of COVID, the deaths she caused in nursing homes and unemployment issues impacting too many hard-working Michiganders to this day. I will not be resigning from the University of Michigan, and our focus at the Michigan Republican Party remains the same—winning in 2022."