(Headline USA) The leader of Michigan‘s Republican Party referred to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and two other top Democratic elected woman as “witches” that the GOP wants to “soften up” for a “burning at the stake” in the 2022 election.
Ron Weiser’s statements Thursday during a local Republican meeting, which are on video, were first reported by the Detroit News on Friday.
Weiser, who also is an elected member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, said multiple times that the party is focused on defeating “three witches” — a reference to Whitmer, state Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who are up for reelection in 2022.
“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,” he said. “Maybe the press heard that, too.”
Whitmer, whose coronavirus lockdown last year led armed demonstrators to protest, became the target of an alleged kidnapping plot by anti-government extremists whose ringleader initially talked of recruiting 200 men to storm the state Capitol, take hostages and “execute tyrants,” according to investigators.
She has come under sharp criticism for her extreme lockdown mandates, while causing a nursing home scandal by forcing vulnerable elderly being mixed with those infected with COVID, that some say is worse than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s scandal.
Whitmer and Nessel also attempted to punish business owners criminally for resisting the lockdowns.
Whitmer also sought the disbarment of lawyers, including Sidney Powell, who challenged the legitimacy of Michigan’s votes in the 2020 presidential election.
As for Benson, a Michigan court recently determined that she broke the law by ordering the sending of absentee ballots to all registered voters before the 2020 election.
Some in the crowd appeared to demand that the party cut off support for Upton and Meijer, who were among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the siege at the U.S. Capitol.
Someone asked Weiser about “witches in our own party.”
He said: “Ma’am, other than assassination, I have no other way other than voting out. OK? You people have to go out there and support their opponents. You have to do what you need to get out the vote in those areas. That’s how you beat people.”
Weiser’s spokesman, Ted Goodman, said Weiser made it clear that it is up to voters to determine GOP nominees through the primary process.
Weiser, a major Republican donor, personally gave money to both Upton, a longtime congressman, and Meijer — now a freshman representative — in 2020.
Goodman did not address Weiser’s “witches” comment.
Bobby Leddy, a spokesman for Whitmer, said such rhetoric is “destructive and downright dangerous” given the increase in death threats against elected officials, the kidnapping charges and the Capitol siege.
GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock tweeted that calling someone a witch is not misogynist, accusing the media of seeing misogyny “where it doesn’t exist.”
Nessel seemed to take the witches comment in stride, tweeting an altered photo depicting her, Whitmer and Benson wearing witch hats and writing; “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.”
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.