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Six men were arrested and are facing federal charges for plotting to abduct Whitmer, who has been the target of attacks from Trump and his supporters for months over her measures to keep her constituents safe from COVID-19.
The alleged kidnapping scheme involved a plan to snatch Whitmer from her vacation home and hold a “treason trial,” according to an FBI affidavit. Terrorism, weapons and conspiracy charges were also brought against seven other men, authorities announced Thursday.
Despite tweeting intermittently all day, Trump did not say anything about the alleged terror plot against an elected official until 9:30 p.m. Eastern, during Cuomo’s broadcast.
On Trump’s silence, Cuomo asked, “Where is the outrage? How is this OK?”
“Mr. Law and Order?” he added. “What he ignores he empowers on purpose. And what he said to and about them empowers hate. It’s not just ugly talk on Twitter to people like me. They wanted to hurt her.”
Cuomo also wondered if Trump would be so quiet “if this were a Republican governor and 13 Black guys arrested.”
“He’d be saying “It’s a coup, it’s a coup,” Cuomo said. “Do you really want this sickness, this virus of hate he is fomenting? This isn’t Twitter, man. It’s not a stupid YouTube video. They were planning for a long time to get her. They were going to meet and train. They were trying to coordinate with other groups.”
He added: “Not all Trump supporters are hateful people. But why does it seem that all the hateful people are Trump supporters?”
When Trump did eventually acknowledge the news, he used the opportunity to bash Whitmer and her COVID-19 restrictions again, praise federal law enforcement for their work taking down the plot and wonder why Whitmer wasn’t thanking him for it.
In a press conference earlier in the day, Whitmer had said Trump’s rhetoric is a rallying call to violent groups and linked it to the planned attack.
Trump’s surrogates claimed afterward that the president does condemn white supremacist and hate groups and instead accused Whitmer of sowing division.
Trump added in a third tweet that he does not tolerate any extremist violence and claimed he will always defend “ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me,” even though he had just attacked Whitmer moments earlier.
Trump has repeatedly avoided condemning and criticizing hate groups throughout his presidency, including when he recently told the far-right Proud Boys to “stand by” before finally denouncing them on Fox News days later after a bipartisan outcry.
“A decent person would pick up the phone and say, ‘Are you OK?’ ― and condemn terror organizations that are threatening and intimidating and plotting against fellow Americans.”