CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCBD) – According to The Detroit News, Governor Henry McMaster was mentioned by one of the men in a group plotting the kidnapping of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Affidavits obtained by the outlet indicate that in early May, Barry Croft (44) sent messages alluding to harming McMaster, saying “Yup. I’m going. With Sword… I’ll be in Columbia, SC, on Friday. They say they want their governor in custody.”
We reached out to McMaster’s office for comment. McMaster’s spokesman Bryan Symmes said “as a matter of practice, our office doesn’t comment on security issues like this one.”
Barry Croft railed against numerous present and former elected leaders in private Facebook posts, special agent Kristopher Long said. Croft is one of six purported members of an extremist paramilitary group accused of scheming to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because of her shutdown orders to control the coronavirus.
Long described the posts in an affidavit supporting a request for a warrant to search an account that Croft allegedly created Sept. 2 and closed Sept. 26. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the document Wednesday after The Detroit News reported its contents.
It said one Facebook post in May showed an image of Trump with a caption reading, “True colors shining through, wanna hang this [expletive] too!!!%”
Another post the next day said, “I say we hang everything currently governing us, they’re all guilty!!% And what a deterrent, Rope!!!%”
An exchange between Croft and an unidentified person referred to protests and “potential acts of violence” in South Carolina, including an apparent reference to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, the affidavit said.
“I’ll be in Columbia, SC on Friday,” Croft allegedly wrote May 4. “They say they want their Governor in custody. … I want to grab them all, and hold trial.”
Croft, whom the affidavit described as a long-haul truck driver, was ordered transferred to Michigan this month. A federal judge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ruled during an Oct. 16 preliminary hearing there was enough evidence against five other suspects in the alleged kidnap conspiracy to send the case to a grand jury for possible indictments.
Eight men said to be members or associates of a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen and are charged in state court with counts including providing material support for terrorist acts. Some are accused of taking part in the alleged scheme against Whitmer.
Defense attorneys have described the suspects as “big talkers” who never intended to follow through with action. But investigators say some cased Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan and agreed to buy explosives and tactical gear.