President Donald Trump and his campaign on Sunday doubled down on their attacks against Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot involving some of the president’s militant supporters.
The campaign tweeted a conspiracy theory Sunday suggesting that Whitmer encouraged “assassination attempts against President Trump” by displaying a sign that said “86 45” in the background of her Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The tweet argued that “86” is shorthand for killing someone. A second tweet cited Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary as sources for its theory.
The president’s campaign is inciting violence against an elected official who was just the victim of a kidnapping/assassination plot hatched by his supporters. Completely insane. pic.twitter.com/qknzESADqz— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 18, 2020
The Merriam-Webster dictionary said that “86” is a slang term in the food industry that can mean either to refuse service to a customer or to “get rid of” or “throw out” an item. The definition does not mention killing as a meaning for the term.
“The silly season is officially here. It’s pretty clear nobody in the Trump campaign has ever worked a food service job,” Bobby Leddy, Whitmer’s campaign spokesperson, told HuffPost in a statement. “Here’s the bottom line: The president is not only a superspreader of COVID-19, he is also a superspreader of hate and fear. His divisive rhetoric needs to stop, and we need a president who will bring Americans together to defeat COVID-19.”
The Trump campaign tweet comes one day after the president attacked the Democratic governor at a rally in Muskegon, Michigan. The crowd chanted, “Lock her up!” in response to Trump’s rhetoric.
“You gotta get your governor to open up your state,” Trump told rallygoers Saturday. “And get your schools open, get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?”