Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who is considering running for governor, said during a press conference Monday that he’s been a Republican for a long time.
“Many of you already knew that,” Craig told reporters
after announcing he’s retiring. “Some of my team already knew it.”
But in September 2020, Craig said he was not a Republican. Craig made the comment after then-President Donald Trump praised him for his handling of protests.
“I’m an American,” Craig told The Detroit News
at the time. “Why is everything left or right? I get support from all sides — except the anarchists who want to undermine our government. I’m an American police officer who claims no party but relies on doing what is right and common sense.”
He added, “I align with both conservatives and liberals, depending on the issues.”
To be sure, Craig’s position on a number of hot-button issues – COVID-19 restrictions, abortion, health care, LGBTQAI+ rights, MAGA, election laws — is unknown, because he’s rarely made his political views public. When asked Monday whether he believed Trump’s false claims about widespread election fraud, Craig declined to answer.
“I’m not going to talk about politics. There will be a proper time and place for that,” Craig said.
Craig’s party affiliation has been the subject of debate. He frequently appears on Fox News to malign Black Lives Matter protesters and defend police, and on Monday he was interviewed by Newsmax
, a right-wing news network
that has peddled conspiracy theories, conservative propaganda and pseudoscience.
In 2014, Craig appeared on the cover of the National Rifle Association’s magazine
promoting gun rights. Craig famously said he believed Detroit would be safer if more people had guns.
On Monday, Mayor Mike Duggan said he would not support Craig
if he runs for governor.
“I think Gretchen Whitmer has been the best partner the city has had in decades, and I will be supporting her,” Duggan said. “The chief and I disagree on a number of issues, and I suspect that is one of them.”
Republicans are desperate for a formidable candidate. None of the five people who have created campaign committees to run so far have statewide name recognition.
Whoever runs against Whitmer will have to raise a lot of money. At the end of 2020, Whitmer had $3.5 million in the campaign account. Craig has no experiencing raising money.
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