LANSING, Mich. (AP MODIFIED) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said discipline for Rep. Cynthia Johnson went 'too far' after Republican leaders in the Michigan House stripped the Democratic lawmaker of her committee assignments after she threatened "Trumpers" in a social media video.
"I think that removing her from her committees is too far, truly...I have reached out and asked the incoming House leadership to reconsider that," said Gov. Whitmer.
Gov. Whitmer made the comments during a COVID press conference held on Thursday afternoon.
She said that Rep. Cynthia Johnson has been through a lot recently, including threats against her life and losing a number of loved ones to COVID-19.
"I believe that it is crucial that we show one another some grace right now, and some empathy and some compassion," said Gov. Whitmer.
Rep. Cynthia Johnson of Detroit sits on a GOP-led committee that heard baseless allegations of election fraud from President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others last week.
Johnson, who is Black, reported getting multiple threats after the hearing — including one saying she should be lynched. In a Facebook video, she urged supportive "soldiers" to "make them pay."
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released a statement regarding the more than 80 phone calls of racially charged threats toward Rep. Johnson. In the statement, she condemned both the threats made toward the representative and the message the Rep. Johnson released in response.
“The threats Rep. Johnson has received are appalling, ugly and deeply disturbing, but her response to those messages is also unacceptable and I strongly condemn both," Nessel said. "My office has received a number of calls and emails from residents about these incidents. I must remind people that if they have been threatened or if they fear for their safety, the appropriate thing to do is to call your local police department or 911, if it’s an emergency, so that law enforcement officers can respond. As Michiganders, and as Americans, we cannot allow hateful rhetoric from a few individuals to drag the masses down into a spiral of unjust actions. It is never acceptable for anyone – especially a public servant – to incite violence or to threaten others with harm. When vigilantes assume justice is theirs to serve, our democracy suffers. It’s time for us to move forward together as a state instead of engaging in – or celebrating – actions of hate and divisiveness.”
House Speaker Lee Chatfield Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth say they are exploring further disciplinary action against Johnson.