A Republican Michigan state representative has given a legislative tribute honoring the “courage” of two men who were acquitted in the failed attempt to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Brothers William and Michael Null were two of 14 men who tried to kidnap Whitmer in 2020, in opposition to her Covid-19 safety policies. The brothers were acquitted in mid-September on a weapons charge and charges of allegedly supporting a terrorist act.
State Representative Rachelle Smit gave a legislative tribute to the Nulls and their lawyers on Friday. Michael Null’s attorney Tom Siver posted a photo of the brothers’ awards on Facebook.
The certificates said the men were being “honored for [their] courage, unflagging spirit, and dedication to our State and the founding principles of our beloved Nation.”
Smit’s tribute accused the state government of unjustly imprisoning the Nulls, as well as the dozen other men who were charged with trying to kidnap the governor. The tribute also accused Whitmer of weaponizing the government’s “secret police,” as well as of corruption and tyranny.
The Null twins are among five men who were acquitted of the kidnap plot. The other nine were convicted or accepted plea deals.
Whitmer’s office slammed Smit’s tribute as “disturbing.”
“This goes beyond the pale,” spokeswoman Stacey LaRouche said. “These types of actions normalize and incite violence against our political figures, and only serve to shake our faith in our values and our institutions.”
“This tribute will further encourage and embolden radical extremists trying to sow discord and harm public officials or law enforcement.”
There have been increasing attacks on political officials, many of which can be linked directly back to violent rhetoric from Donald Trump and his allies. Targets often include politicians who either embrace progressive causes or appear to oppose Trump in some way.
In addition to the kidnapping plot, Whitmer also appeared on the hit list of a gunman who is accused of fatally shooting a retired Wisconsin county judge. The list featured Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.