Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks as she addresses the media with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris throughout a voting rights listening session at TCF Center in Detroit, Michigan, July 12, 2021.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters
Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s high election official, confronted an onslaught of threats after the 2020 presidential election for refusing to overturn outcomes that confirmed Joe Biden had gained the state. In these hectic weeks, she says she additionally obtained an particularly disturbing piece of knowledge: President Donald Trump advised in a White House assembly that she must be arrested for treason and executed.
Benson, a Democrat, revealed the alleged comment for the primary time in an interview with NBC News. She mentioned she discovered of it from a supply conversant in Trump’s White House assembly.
“It was surreal and I felt sad,” Benson mentioned, recalling her response.
“It certainly amplified the heightened sense of anxiety, stress and uncertainty of that time — which I still feel in many ways — because it showed there was no bottom to how far he (Trump) and his supporters were willing to stoop to overturn or discredit a legitimate election.”
For extra on this story, tune in to “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” tonight at 6:30pm ET/5:30pm CT, or examine your native listings.
Reached for remark, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich mentioned: “I have it on good authority that Secretary Benson knowingly lied throughout her interview with NBC News.”
Benson, Michigan’s secretary of state, is now locked in an election battle with a Republican candidate who parrots Trump’s false claims in regards to the 2020 election. In speeches and on her podcast, Kristina Karamo has mentioned the election was “rigged and stolen” and “Secretary of State Benson should go to jail.”
A group faculty teacher, Karamo has secured the endorsement of the state GOP social gathering and, extra pivotally, Trump himself.
“She is strong on crime, including the massive crime of election fraud,” Trump mentioned in his endorsement.
The secretary of state race in Michigan is amongst a number of that includes GOP candidates who’ve pushed the false declare that the 2020 election was marred by widespread fraud.
This November, voters in 24 states will resolve who ought to run their elections. Candidates who deny the 2020 election outcomes are on the poll in 14 states, together with the important thing battlegrounds of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, in line with an NBC News evaluate.