"And we'll have to see if it's a problem, right? People are entitled to say, ‘Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn't,’” he said during a cold and rainy Tuesday campaign stop in Lansing. ”It was our people, my people, our people that helped her out.”
“And then she blamed me for it. ... I don't get it,” the president said, feigning surprise before asking the crowd of his supporters of their Democratic state chief executive: “How did you put her there?”
Federal law enforcement officials took down a plot from a right-wing group to kidnap Mr Whitmer.
Right-leaning militias and other organisations, as well as normal Michiganders, have been frustrated with Ms Whitmer’s coronavirus policies, including ongoing restrictions, since early in the pandemic.
That came shortly before the president used Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the Michigan governor to criticise both of them.
He noted his general election rival is not ruling out another national lockdown if that is what he deems necessary to stop the again-spreading coronavirus.
“You’re already locked down, I mean this state, we’ve got to get her going. I don’t know,” Mr Trump said of Ms Whitmer. “I don’t think she likes me too much.”
That prompted his loyalists to break into a now-familiar chant: “Lock her up!”
Mr Trump spoke before another large crowd at a regional airport in a key battleground state. It was another he won four years ago. But things look like an uphill climb with just seven days to go before Election Day: he trails Mr Biden there by 9.4 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics’ average of a handful of polls in the state.
But the president seemed in a fighting and upbeat mood, teasing the media at several points.
“See, I don’t comment on that (the chant) because every time I make just a little bit of a nod, they say ‘The president led them on,’” he said to laughter. “No, I don’t have to lead you on, even a little nod they say, ‘The president said,’ right?”