Michigan’s Governor Says Reopen Protesters Had Nooses and Swastikas
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Democrat Michigan, repeated her claim Monday that the protest that took place last week outside the state Capitol building included demonstrators carrying nooses, Confederate flags and swastikas.
The protest in Lansing last week included an armed militia that drew criticism from some in the conservative media like Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Some of the protesters photographed were dressed in tactical gear. The Associated Press reported that even some Republicans in the state called some of the protesters “a bunch of jackasses.”
“Unfortunately, right now in Michigan, we see a small number of people … it looks large on television, but when you think about this is a state of 10 million people, this is a small contingent that came out and made political statements. They carried nooses and Confederate flags and swastikas,” she told NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday.
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The allegations of swastikas and nooses could jeopardize the message these rallies are supposed to express. Most of those in attendance have witnessed unprecedented overreach by state governments and have seen their income essentially shrivel up. Michigan is considered to be one of the hardest-hit states economically and saw about a quarter of its workforce file for unemployment.
President Trump on Friday tweeted out his support for the protesters, saying they’re “very good people, but they are angry.”
State Sen. Dale Zorn, a Republican, was criticized for wearing what appeared to be a Confederate flag as a face mask during a vote last week. He pointed out that the flag is an important symbol in the country’s history but later apologized.
“I’m sorry for my choice of pattern on the face mask I wore yesterday on the Senate floor. I did not intend to offend anyone; however, I realize that I did, and for that I am sorry. Those who know me best know that I do not support the things this pattern represents,” he wrote on Twitter, according to the Guardian. “My actions were an error in judgment for which there are no excuses and I will learn from this episode.”
Whitmer said “ugly political” rallies make it harder to “re-engage.”
Whitmer has been clashing with Republicans in Lansing and in the process is becoming a rising star in the Democrat Party. She is reportedly on Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice president.