Lansing — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn’t buying U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s comments this week that he was unaware of violent threats made against her.

Whitmer told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday night that she didn’t believe Barr, who testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, pressed Barr on differences in the federal government’s response to Black Lives Matter protesters and Michigan Capitol demonstrators against Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders.

“Are you aware that these protesters called for the governor to be lynched, shot and beheaded?” Jayapal asked Barr, who leads the U.S. Department of Justice.

The attorney general responded that he wasn’t.

“There are a lot of protests around the United States,” Barr said at one point.

Burnett played the clip of the exchange on Wednesday night for Whitmer and then asked the Democratic governor if she believed Barr.

Whitmer said she didn’t before adding that the American public “deserves answers.”

“That includes even governors who could have used a little support from our federal government when we’re trying to save lives here and people are threatening to take ours,” Whitmer said.

The Democratic governor said Jayapal did a “phenomenal” job in questioning Barr, the appointee of Republican President Donald Trump.

In the spring, multiple protests at the Michigan Capitol drew hundreds of demonstrators against Whitmer’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During one event on April 30, the protesters entered the Michigan Capitol — some openly carrying guns — and chanted outside the state House chamber. One participant carried a sign that read, “Tyrants get the rope.”

In May, the Detroit Metro Times reported that posters in private Facebook groups were levying threats against Whitmer, suggesting “she be shot, beaten or beheaded.”

cmauger@detroitnews.com

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