Exclusive – ‘She Has Failed Miserably’: Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig on Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

James Craig, a former Detroit Police Chief, announces he is a Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan in Detroit, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig slammed Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) over her leadership and record, stating “she has failed miserably” in a recent Sirus XM’s Breitbart News Saturday interview.

Craig, who is a candidate in Michigan’s Republican primary for governor, contrasted his leadership credentials as police chief to Whitmer’s record as governor and highlighted how he took a “demoralized” Detroit police force and restored confidence within.

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“I’ve been on the ground. I’ve demonstrated leadership. I’ve demonstrated how things need to get done,” Craig said. “I came in at a time when the city was facing bankruptcy, the police demonized and demoralized, the community had lost confidence. We changed that. We changed it through leadership. Sound leadership principles.”

The former police chief then touted the specifics of his leadership and record, citing how Detroit fared much better than other major Democrat-run cities during the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots that caused extensive property damage and cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. Craig noted that while many Democrat-run cities allowed “the mob” to take over – citing the example of Seattle, where the police retreated and the rioters created their own autonomous zone – Detroit had “no tolerance” for crime during that summer and enforced the “rule of law.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig

Then Detroit Police Chief James Craig, left, addresses the media during a news conference in Detroit, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

“What’s lacking and missing today is leaders who unapologetically enforce the rule of law. I was on the ground [during the riots]… Leading from the front,” Craig said. “Letting those know out there who were focus on criminality, that there is ‘no tolerance’ for that.”

When asked by Breitbart News’s Matthew Boyle about the fentanyl crisis, which killed over 107,000 Americans in 2021, Craig stated that “this is a national crisis” and that he would “apply the rule of law equitably” when dealing with the criminals who are “bringing this garbage” into the Wolverine state.

Craig criticized Whitmer and the Biden administration for not talking about the crisis enough and their lack of action. The former police chief told Boyle that Michigan should take the matter into its own hands, citing Texas and Arizona as examples to follow when dealing with fentanyl and illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. Craig indicated he would even be willing to send Michigan national guard troops to the border to “assist our friends in Arizona.” 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer introduces Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden to speak at Beech Woods Recreation Center in Southfield, Michigan, on October 16, 2020. - Joe Biden on October 16, 2020 described President Donald Trump's reluctance to denounce white supremacists as "stunning" in a hard-hitting speech in battleground Michigan with 18 days to go until the election. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Southfield, Michigan, on October 16, 2020. Recent polling shows Whitmer trailing a generic Republican candidate by one point. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Craig also hammered the governor’s record on handling the Michigan economy, specifically focusing on her handling of the automobile industry. “She flounders in securing Ford Motor Company when they move two EV plants out,” Craig stated. “Manufacturing is our number one driver, under the automobile industry.”

In September of last year, Ford Motor Company announced that they would build two electric vehicle plants, one in Tennessee and one in Kentucky, instead of Michigan, for a total investment of $11.4 billion. While Michigan was able to secure an electric vehicle plant through the General Motors Company in January, it came with a less lucrative investment of $7 billion.

Craig appears as the most likely Republican primary candidate to face Whitmer in November’s gubernatorial election, as he is leading his fellow opponents by double digits. “I’m the one that can unseat Governor Whitmer,” Craig stated.

If Craig were to face Whitmer in a general election, he would have a good chance to unseat her, as recent polling shows that Whitmer is one point behind a generic Republican candidate on the ballot.

The Michigan Republican gubernatorial primary is set to take place on August 2.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.

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