Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging leaders of the state’s Republican-led House to reconsider after taking committee assignments from Representative Cynthia Johnson (D-Detroit) for threatening Donald Trump supporters.
“I think that removing her from her committees is too far, truly, and I’ve reached out and asked the incoming House leadership to reconsider that,” Whitmer told reporters on Thursday.
Whitmer’s comments followed a decision on Wednesday by House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth, both Republicans, to strip Johnson of her committee seats and consider “further disciplinary action” as state authorities investigate her threats against supporters of President Trump. Chatfield and Wentworth added that violence and threats against public officials — or from public officials — are never appropriate.
“Threats to either Democrats or Republicans are unacceptable and un-American,” the lawmakers said. “They’re even more unbecoming of an elected official.”
Threats to Democrats or Republicans are unacceptable and un-American. They’re even more unbecoming of an elected official. Rep. CA Johnson has been stripped of her committees and we’re looking into further disciplinary action as the proper authorities conduct their investigation. pic.twitter.com/Y5lTqqmEVI
— Lee Chatfield (@LeeChatfield) December 9, 2020
Johnson posted a bizarre Facebook video on Tuesday in response to alleged threats made against her, warning that “Trumpers” need to “be careful, walk lightly [because] we ain’t playing with you.” She added, “For those of you who are soldiers, you know how to do it. Do it right. Be in order. Make them pay.”
The lawmaker became a target for threats after a House hearing last week on alleged election fraud. Johnson scolded a Republican House member for letting Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani question a witness, and she accused Giuliani’s witness of lying. She also objected to fraud witnesses being sworn in, then asked them to spell out their names in an apparent effort to have them “doxxed.”
Johnson was defiant when interviewed by a local media outlet about the backlash over her video, saying her message wasn’t a threat and that she was talking about “peace and unity.” She said the loss of her committee seats would merely give her more time for other work, “so thank you for making me nationally known. They you for putting racism on the record.”
Asked by a reporter on Thursday whether Johnson’s Facebook video was “appropriate,” Whitmer didn’t respond directly, noting that Johnson has “been through a lot.” She said that just for showing up and doing her job at last week’s election hearing, Johnson was made a target of “racist attacks and threats on her life.”
“I believe that it’s crucial that we show each other some grace right now and some empathy and compassion,” Whitmer added. “We all need to put our focus on our common enemy, which is Covid-19.”
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