GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — For someone who hasn’t officially announced a run for governor, retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig certainly sounded like a candidate as he made a pitch to Kent County voters in front of a what appeared to be a new “Chief James Craig” campaign logo Monday.
In a 30-minute speech to Kent County Young Republicans, Craig defended his Republican affiliation, channeled famous abolitionists and took jabs at Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her administration’s response to the pandemic.
“Let’s face it, Democratic polices and Gretchen Whitmer hurt our children. The policies hurt our youth, the policies hurt our cities. Their policies hurt black people, brown people, young people, pretty much all people,” said Craig who also referred to Whitmer as "Queen Gretchen."
Many have pegged Craig, who retired from the Detroit Police Department in June, as a potential favorite to win the GOP nomination to challenge Whitmer in the 2022 race for Michigan governor.
He has also built a national profile due to numerous appearances on FOX News, in his latest, he teased that a special announcement about “Michigan’s future” could be coming this week.
While he didn't make that announcement in Kent County, Craig called the longtime Republican stronghold that's now trending bluer, "important ground," while vowing to help bring over new Republican voters in 2022.
“I offer to help lead our Republican Party into areas that haven’t historically voted Republican and show that we are all among friends, and there are no enemies when it comes to Michigan’s future,” Craig said Monday.
"These young people don't want to rely on government, they want the opportunity to rely on themselves, they want a hand up, not a government handout," Craig added.
Following his speech, Craig did not take questions from the press, something Michigan Democrats have criticized him for over the past several weeks.
“This prolonged dress rehearsal tour won’t get Michiganders any closer to uncovering where James Craig stands on the questions he’s been dodging. And that’s by design. Just like a typical politician and right on cue with what his cabal of insider consultants are telling him to do,” said Michigan Democratic Party Spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite.
Craig’s appearance in Grand Rapids marks his second political speech since being thrust into the scene as a Republican political figure.
His first foray took place earlier this month in Jackson, Mich. at the site of the Republican Party’s founding.