Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) on Tuesday seemed to downplay credible threats of planned right-wing violence at every state capitol, telling radio host Paul W. Smith that he does not believe the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) bulletin sent out Monday warning of the protests was necessary.
“I think that the entire nation is [in] a state of high emotion right now,” Shirkey said on Smith’s WJR-AM show. “And there should be a concerted effort for everybody to practice ‘first seek to understand before endeavoring to be understood,’ and just start listening to each other.
“It just hurts my heart to hear that the FBI is announcing things like that, and I don’t think it’s necessary. And it is up to us as citizens of this nation to calm that down. And the best way for us to do that is to become neighbors again, not enemies,” Shirkey said.
Shirkey spokesperson Amber McCann did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Monday, an FBI bulletin warned of armed protests being planned “at all 50 state capitols” from Saturday through “at least” Wednesday when Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated. That comes after the Jan. 6 pro-President Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
A militia group has confirmed they are planning to demonstrate at the Michigan state Capitol on Sunday.
The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) said in a statement Thursday that Shirkey’s words follow a pattern of making light of right-wing threats and violence.
“Just because Mike Shirkey’s ‘heart hurts’ doesn’t mean the threat of political violence isn’t real,” said DGA spokesperson Christina Amestoy.
“The Capitol attack and the attempt on Gov. Whitmer’s life has made it clear that Republicans’ violent rhetoric put public servants across the country at risk. Shirkey needs to stop undermining law enforcement and take the threat of political violence caused by members of his party seriously.”