(WXYZ) — Michigan’s Democratic Party is calling for an investigation into the state’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.
The request comes months after Shirkey revealed in an interview on JTV’s Bart Hawley Show that he met with militia leaders before the FBI interrupted the plot to kidnap and potentially kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“The militia groups are getting a bad rap,” said Shirkey in the Sept. 10 interview, who characterized protests as having fringe elements that are not under the militia umbrella.
“I choose to do something the state police have told me has never been done before and that is asked to meet with the leaders of the militia groups," Shirkey said. "And so they helped me identify the top four or five that they know about and last Friday, excuse me, Thursday, we didn’t have session but I was in Lansing, and members, the leaders, the so-called leaders of three of the groups met in my office and we talked about their messaging, their purpose, what are they trying to accomplish.”
Shirkey said he asked them a question.
“What do you want... you want people to hear what you say or you want people to see your guns?" Shirkey asked. "Because that’s a choice you have to make.”
The meeting came months after the armed protest inside the Michigan statehouse that is now being characterized as a “dry run” for the failed Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
During that protest, there were reports that Sen. Shirkey went to the Senate gallery to talk with the protestors while preventing reporters from listening in on the conversation.
Those actions, mixed with the Senator’s appearance at another October rally attended by militia members who would be arrested in the kidnapping plot, is what Gov. Whitmer’s office is calling "troubling."
In a statement, Whitmer spokesperson Tiffany Brown writes:
“It would be extremely troubling if Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has ties to any militia group. As Governor Whitmer has said before, when our leaders meet with, encourage, share stages with, or fraternize with domestic terrorists they legitimize their actions – they are complicit.
Immediately after protesters stormed Michigan’s Capitol Building, Gov. Whitmer asked the White House, Vice President Pence, Sen. Shirkey and top Republicans in the legislature to help turn down the heat. She asked again after the plot to kidnap and kill her was thwarted. Instead, the same day the plot was revealed, Sen. Shirkey joined protesters and spoke at a rally against the governor on the steps of the Capitol. Republican leaders refused to acknowledge the underlying problem or try to bring down the heat, which continued until the U.S. Capitol was attacked. It was a graphic reminder that actions and words have consequences, and that silence and complicity can be just as dangerous.
Telling people this election was anything but valid fans the flames. Flying to D.C. to meet with a president who has inspired and encouraged violence has contributed to this very moment.
Gov. Whitmer urges other leaders to join her in uniting our state and country - and work together on those things that are important to Michiganders like safely getting our kids back in the classroom, providing critical support to our small businesses, and securing additional vaccines as we work to end the COVID-19 pandemic."
The Michigan Democratic Party also released a statement calling for an investigation into Shirkey: "It has become increasingly clear that there needs to be a full investigation into Senator Mike Shirkey's dealings with Michigan Militia groups. He has spoken at their rallies. He has defended their actions. And most recently it has come to light that he met with the leaders of three Michigan-based militia groups to help them with their messaging. He has, time and time again, betrayed the trust of the people that he is elected to serve. His sympathetic approach to working with right-wing armed militia groups is disturbing and dangerous and must come to an end."
Neither a phone call or email to Senator Shirkey’s office were immediately responded to Monday morning.