News from Progress Michigan

March 8, 2022

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

New Report: Right-Wing Extremism and the Plot to Kidnap Gov. Whitmer

An overview of the 2020 plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer, radical right-wing extremism, and reckless Republican rhetoric

MICHIGAN – A new report, compiled by Progress Michigan, provides not only an overview of the alleged domestic terrorist plot to kidnap and potentially execute Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but also explores the environment in Michigan leading up to the plot’s inception and failed execution. 

“The plot against our governor is nothing short of despicable, but we can’t sit on the sidelines now that those allegedly involved are facing trial,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “We must examine the political environment that produced this plot. We must take an unflinching look at the context of reckless Republican rhetoric we’re still hearing today and how the Michigan Republican Party is so desperate to hang onto power at all costs that they have cozied up to right-wing militias and extremists.”

The full report, titled Kidnapping Plots in the Age of Coronavirus and Careless Incitement of Political Outrage, is available here. Highlights include:

  • A timeline of how the alleged plot evolved
  • An examination of the various factors contributing to a volatile environment of right-wing extremism in Michigan, including:
    • Anti-lockdown rallies spurred on by Michigan Republican lawmakers
    • Increasingly hateful rhetoric against Gov. Whitmer by the Michigan Republican Party and former President Donald Trump
    • Right-wing social media plagued by conspiracy theories
    • A Michigan Republican Party that refuses to take a stand against extremism

“The pathetic, half-assed, boilerplate condemnations of violence we heard from Michigan Republicans after this foiled attack on our governor and after the insurrection on January 6 are not enough to stand against extremists within their ranks and their base,” Scott continued. “Michigan Republicans have done next to nothing to quiet the radical right in our state and have even welcomed extremists and conspiracy theorists into the leadership of their party. The question isn’t if this reckless, power-hungry cowardice will lead to more political violence, the question is when.”