The FBI announced Thursday that it had thwarted a plan by far-right militia members
to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and charged six men in relation to the plot.
The plot began as talk on social media sites, with a group of men gathering on Facebook to share anti-government reaction to Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions and shutdowns.
Experts say the pandemic, protests, and the words of the president have combined to fuel a rise in right-wing extremism. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a professor at American University who tracks right-wing extremism, spoke to NPR about how right-wing recruiters are taking advantage of President Trump’s hesitancy to condemn white supremacy and militia groups.
And while these men have been referred to as members of a “militia,” that term has also resurfaced a debate about whether groups like this should actually be referred to as domestic terrorist groups, says Kathleen Belew, an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago who studies paramilitary and white power groups.
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