By Tom Travis
“Self-indulgent” Michigan GOP leaders try to “twist” the Whitmer kidnapping into a story about themselves, and by their words “fan the flames” of domestic terrorism, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (5th District) said in comments made while visiting the Flint Public Library (FPL) Friday.
Kildee spoke to EVM about the kidnapping plot against Whitmer, the use of the term “militia,” the Flint water crisis, and ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kildee was at the FPL to tour the temporary location and receive updates about the renovation and construction of the new FPL. Following the tour Kildee conducted a video conference with members of the Michigan Library Association from around the state.
Here are highlights of the conversation with EVM:
How do you feel about Michigan GOP’s response to Gov. Whitmer’s kidnapping plot?
“Very disappointed. Gov. Whitmer was the target of a serious kidnapping plot that could have led to a death. And the idea that some of the self-indulgent legislators would try to twist the story so that it’s about them. When sometimes it has been their own language that has fanned the flame of this sort of action. Makes you wonder who raised these people?”
Are you confident militia activity will be managed in the state over the next few months and beyond?
“I find that some of these organizations like to use the word ‘militia’ because the word is used in the Constitution. They can call themselves whatever they want but their behavior makes them domestic terrorists. So some of them may truly be club like militia men. But some can’t claim that title by their actions, they’re domestic terrorists. The federal government needs to treat them in the same way they did to any other act to commit domestic terror in the U.S.”
Were your family or any other members of the Michigan delegation in danger or had threats against them?
“We don’t talk about the threats that we receive because we decided a long time ago that we don’t want to give them any more information than they have.”
What hope can you give Flint residents of further stimulus aid in the water crisis?
“I’m thankful we were able to give Flint $10 million flint registry. In terms of the Flint and the lead issue we know we have more work to do on those issues.”
“In terms of the Covid response, I’m very frustrated we passed a bill five months ago. Because we haven’t been able to get any traction with the White House or the Senate the House passed a similar, smaller bill which did include some support for libraries. While the President says he wants “to go big” he certainly hasn’t sat down with us to negotiate something. It seems he’d rather tweet than act.”
What have you learned through the water crisis that you have been able to apply in the Covid pandemic response?
I think the most important message of the water or lead crisis is that the cost of preventing failure is far less than the price of failure itself. And if we don’t get that right we’re going to have a lot of problems.”
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.