- Michigan Senate Photo Wire
- Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.
An advocacy group is renewing its call for Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to resign after video surfaced of the Clarklake Republican making controversial remarks to an armed, anti-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer crowd last year.
In an ominous speech at the American Patriot Rally in Grand Rapids in May 2020, Shirkey boasted that he was in possession of three weapons and encouraged the boisterous crowd to “train” and “be ready” to “test” the government.
“I came here today with three weapons — my sidearm and two weapons that are much more powerful than my sidearm,” Shirkey, holding up a Bible and U.S. Constitution, told the crowd, which included militia members. “Be prepared and continue to do your teaching and your training and be ready to do the testing of government when they get it backwards.”
The remarks came on the same month Shirkey declared Whitmer was “drunk on the addiction of unfettered power.”
Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, said Shirkey’s rhetoric was dangerous and “a clear precursor to what was to come” in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building, leading to the deaths of five people.
“Once again, Shirkey has been caught on camera making dangerous and ignorant comments,” Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott said in a statement. “Shirkey’s history of providing free advice to militia groups and his recent claims that the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection was a ‘hoax’ have undeniably fomented political violence to an unacceptable degree. Despite witnessing a conspiracy to kidnap and kill Gov. Whitmer last year, Shirkey has endlessly provoked the lies that fueled attacks on elected officials and our democracy. The only thing Shirkey is fit to lead is the singing of hymnals, and even that is debatable. We renew our calls for him to resign immediately.”
A month before Shirkey’s speech, a group of menacing protesters with rifles entered the state Capitol building.
Whitmer also has been the target of threats because of her precautions during the pandemic. The Michigan Capitol building was temporarily shut down last month following a bomb threat, and in October, 14 men were charged with plotting to kidnap the governor.
The FBI presented as evidence the fact that the alleged would-be kidnappers held training sessions and drills.
Progress Michigan and others called for Shirkey, the top Republican in the state, to resign after Metro Times revealed last week that he claimed the Jan. 6 insurrection was “a hoax.”
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