press release

News from Progress Michigan

December 7, 2020

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Lawmakers Face Death Threats Over GOP Conspiracies

Threats of violence show the danger of allowing disinformation to spread

MICHIGAN – A few months after the FBI foiled a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, right-wing extremists are still threatening Michigan elected officials. On Sunday, armed protesters showed up outside Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s house, where she lives with her husband and 4-year-old son, to harass her about baseless conspiracy theories. 

State Rep. Cynthia Johnson, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, has received threatening messages and voicemails, including some that use racial slurs and even say she should be lynched, in response to her questioning of witnesses during last week’s meeting featuring Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Other lawmakers have also reported receiving threats of violence.

“To Jocelyn Benson, Cynthia Johnson, and all the other lawmakers facing threats and harassment just for trying to do your job, we want to extend our support and thanks for standing up for our democracy. No one should face threats of violence, racism or harassment like this,” said Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “From the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer earlier this year to these current threats of violence over baseless election conspiracies, it’s become increasingly clear just how dangerous disinformation is. Republicans’ decision to amplify false claims about our elections isn’t just undemocratic—they’re also putting people’s lives in danger. At this point, condemning threats of violence isn’t enough. It’s time for Republican leaders to recognize the impact of their words and actions and stop giving a platform to conspiracy theorists, to finally ban guns at the Capitol and make clear that bullying and threats of violence not be tolerated. Opposing lies should not be a life or death issue.”