Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she and her family were threatened over the weekend by dozens of armed protesters who gathered outside her house and railed against the state’s 2020 Election results.
On Saturday, a group of President Donald Trump’s supporters appeared at Benson’s residence, where they reportedly demanded an election audit, pushed baseless fraud conspiracy theories, and shouted: “stop the steal” into megaphones. Benson addressed the gathering with a statement on Sunday, saying it happened as she and her young son just finished decorating their house and were about to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The demands made outside my home were unambiguous, loud and threatening. They targeted me in my role as Michigan’s Chief Election Officer. But the threats of those gathered weren’t actually aimed at me ― or any other elected officials in this state. They were aimed at the voters. Through threats of violence, intimidation and bullying, the armed people outside my home and their political allies seek to undermine and silence the will and voices of every voter in this state, no matter who they voted for. Their goal is to overturn and upend the results of an election that are clear an unequivocal, and that 5.5 million Michigan citizens participated in.
Ever since the election, Trump and his allies have claimed that the vote was corrupted by widespread fraud, but so far, they have failed to produce credible evidence for their court case. As the election continues to be disputed in Michigan and other battleground states, numerous officials have expressed concern about Trump’s supporters’ violent rhetoric, angered by the results.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has also been threatened in recent months, responded to Benson’s situation by saying, “Threats against our elected officials, no matter their party, are dangerous and unacceptable. This must stop. Now is the time to come together against our common enemy: Covid-19.”
Threats against our elected officials, no matter their party, are dangerous and unacceptable. This must stop. Now is the time to come together against our common enemy: COVID-19. https://t.co/MtCoEyqxQG
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) December 7, 2020
Others have taken to Twitter to raise the alarm over the demonstration at Benson’s house.
The individuals gathered outside my home targeted me as Michigan’s Chief Election officer. But their threats were actually aimed at the 5.5million Michigan citizens who voted in this fall’s election, seeking to overturn their will. They will not succeed in doing so. My statement: pic.twitter.com/RSUnPSN4Aa
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) December 7, 2020
No election official should face these threats or intimidation for doing their jobs. It’s an affront to democracy and terrifying. And we know SOS @JocelynBenson is hardly alone. Regardless of party affiliation, everyone should condemn this. https://t.co/cmYnfmIx6k
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) December 7, 2020
These people are threatening violence against Michigan’s Sec’y of State Jocelyn Benson, a state election official. The Justice Department should open a federal investigation, especially after the recent plot to kidnap Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer. pic.twitter.com/yro0SnyhJC
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) December 7, 2020
Incredible that something like this is just a normal occurance in whatever state this country is in right now https://t.co/GdMpqMnzfQ
— Zito (@_Zeets) December 7, 2020
Donald Trump could have preempted this. Instead his ego and mendacity is doing the nation harm. https://t.co/Bd79oYnCuX
— Conor Friedersdorf (@conor64) December 7, 2020
This country is one accidental shot away from widespread bloody violence, and Trump is cheerfully fomenting it with a bullhorn.
GOP, this is on you. On your silence. Time for political calculations to stop and do the right damn thing. Speak up. https://t.co/GrPC9NXVB7
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) December 7, 2020
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