LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Republican Party is calling for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to apologize after she said she believes had protesters during the anti-stay-at-home rallies been Black, they would have been killed by law enforcement.
Her comments came during an Instagram live interview with the African American issue and culture magazine, The Root.
“How do you respond to people who say that, ‘If there were a group of Black men who stormed the state capitol that day would have been dead?’” Interviewer Terrell Jermaine Starr asked.
“I understand why people say that, and I don’t disagree,” Whitmer replied after pausing.
That response has drawn criticism from Michigan GOP Chairman Laura Cox who said Whitmer owed members of the state police who guard the capitol an apology.
“She is kind of stirring the pot unnecessarily,” Cox said. “You know she's the governor over the Michigan State Police. They're wonderful people you know they protect her and her family 24 hours a day each and every day.”
Whitmer’s comments came just after she said in that same interview she supported the "spirit" of the push to defund and dismantle police departments to rebuild them with a more community focused approach to policing. The calls to defund departments has become a rallying cry and policy push during nationwide protests.
That statement from Whitmer was at odds with Attorney General Dana Nessel, who tweeted last week, “calls to abolish police departments and destroy their funding sources are not the solution.”
In response to the GOP backlash, Whitmer declined to go on camera Friday, but did send a statement saying in part, “It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that President Trump and the Michigan Republican Party continue to fan the flames of racial division. Governor Whitmer won’t be distracted by these petty partisan attacks that seek to divide Americans.”