Governor Gretchen Whitmer has a small “86 45” sign in her office, and now President Donald Trump’s campaign claims she’s advocating for his assassination.
A tweet from the Trump War Room, which is an officially verified account with a bio stating that it is “managed by the #TeamTrump 2020 campaign,” sent out the message Sunday afternoon.
“Governor Gretchen Whitmer displayed an ‘86 45’ sign during her TV appearance. 86 can be shorthand for killing someone,” the tweet claims. “Whitmer is encouraging assassination attempts against President Trump just weeks after someone sent a ricin-laced package to the White House.”
The tweet included a follow-up with screenshots from Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary, two sources that can be edited by any user. (Notably, the Urban Dictionary definition included isn’t even on the first few pages of the 86 entry.)
“Governor @gretchenwhitmer has the gall to go on @MeetThePress this morning complaining about President @realDonaldTrump’s rhetoric, but in the background displays a phrase which calls for the killing of President Trump!” Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox wrote on Twitter. “This is truly disgusting.”
So does 86 mean murder? Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it means “to refuse to serve (a customer),” “to get rid of” and/or “throw out.” That’s because it’s most commonly used in restaurants or bars when they want to get a disruptive patron to leave.
“86 45” has been a slogan among the opposition for most of Donald Trump’s presidency. So why is it the focus right now? In the Whitmer interview being referenced, the Michigan governor called for Trump to stop “inciting” violence towards her by encouraging “lock her up” chants at rallies just after the FBI arrested men plotting to kidnap her.
“It’s incredibly disturbing that the President of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap me, put me on trial and execute me, 10 days after that was uncovered, the president is at it again and inspiring and incentivizing and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism,” Whitmer told “Meet The Press.”
“It is wrong. It’s got to end. It is dangerous—not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans,” she added. “People of goodwill on both sides of the aisle need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down. This is the United States of America. We do not tolerate actions like he is giving comfort to and that’s why we all have to be in this together.”