The arrests Thursday of 13 men in Michigan for an alleged plot to overthrow the Michigan state government, including an alleged plan by six of the suspects to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, should send a chill down the spine of every American.

According to the FBI, which intercepted encrypted messages among members of the group, its alleged leader, Adam Fox of Michigan, envisioned an assault by 200 heavily armed people on the Michigan Capitol, the kidnapping of Whitmer for the purpose of trying her for “treason” for supposedly violating their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

A few hundred heavily armed people protested at the Michigan Capitol this spring and attempted to disrupt a legislative session over Whitmer’s lockdown orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Donald Trump, ever helpful, egged them on by tweeting, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

Trump did not endorse violence but, unlike Democratic challenger Joe Biden, he has not condemned it across the spectrum. That was not lost on Whitmer.

“Just last week, the president of the United States ... refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups,” Whitmer said Thursday. Extremists, she said, “heard the president’s words, not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.”

In the United States, calls to action should be to vote, not to storm state capitols and kidnap governors. Trump emphatically should condemn this plot, and kindred extremist organizations, to eliminate any doubt that they somehow have license for such outrageous schemes against democracy.

-Scranton Times-Tribune

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