Messy Primary Alert: James Craig Continues to Lie About Sending Mailer Calling Michigan State Police “Weak-Kneed … Underlings,” is Now Claiming “Campaign Sabotage” as Former Staff Argue He “Personally Approved It”

“[The MSP mailer is] a stupid thing for him to get caught lying about. It’s sad to see how he’s fallen so quickly in blaming [staff] …for his own memory problems.” – John Yob

Following last week’s news that James Craig sent a fundraising letter in which he went on the attack against law enforcement, calling members of the Michigan State Police “weak-kneed…underlings” that “abandon[ed] their jobs” to operate as cronies, the Detroit Dodger is back with a new outlandish excuse for his own offensive words – he was the target of “campaign sabotage.” The defense spurred someone formally in his camp to publicly push back on that claim, resulting in conflicting accounts about the mailer that “don’t match up.”

Speaking to Detroit Free Press, Craig once again refused to take responsibility for the mailer yesterday, attempting to pin it instead on former staff despite the fact that the letter bore his signature, was paid for by his campaign, directed donations to his campaign’s PO box, and was issued “long after” those members had terminated their employment with his campaign. 

The piece also noted that Craig attacked MSP during a September national cable appearance in which he aired his grievances about state troopers to Tucker Carlson, saying his perceived treatment by them during his disastrous campaign reboot “was not accidental.”

Additional reporting from MIRS confirmed Craig’s personal involvement in his campaign’s attack on Michigan State Police. According to a former senior advisor to his campaign, Craig “personally approved” of the letter and “was caught lying probably because of memory problems and is now trying to figure out who to blame.” 

MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:

“James Craig can continue to lie about attacks that denigrate law enforcement that he personally signed off on according to his own campaign team, but it will do nothing to diminish the fact that this desperate money solicitation bears his name and signature, echoes criticisms he made about MSP during his disastrous reboot week, and directs donors to write checks made payable to his campaign. If the Detroit Dodger can’t even take responsibility for his own campaign, why should Michiganders trust him to run our state?”

See excerpts below on the latest instance of Craig “call[ing] out the MSP by name” and read the full report here.

Detroit Free Press: Craig Says Former Campaign Manager OK’d Letter Without His Knowledge; Hints At Sabotage
Paul Egan

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, a Republican candidate for governor, said Wednesday he suspects his former campaign manager used his electronic signature to sign his name, without his knowledge, to a campaign fundraising letter that criticized the Michigan State Police.

Craig also hinted the letter may have been an act of campaign sabotage, despite the fact he previously called out the MSP during an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News.

Craig made the new accusations during an interview with host Dave Akerly on a Lansing radio public affairs show, the “WILS Morning Wake-up.”

Craig faced a backlash last week when one of his campaign fundraising letters criticized members of the MSP as “weak-kneed,” and as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “underlings” for failing to respond adequately when demonstrators disrupted his September campaign announcement on Belle Isle in Detroit. […]

In the radio interview, Craig said his campaign “had to make some changes,” and “the general consultant is gone and the campaign manager is gone.”

The former campaign consultant was John Yob of Strategic National, who left the Craig campaign around Thanksgiving and now works for another Republican candidate for Michigan governor, businessman and “quality guru” Perry Johnson of Oakland County. […]

“And so, I shouldn’t be surprised that this happened,” Craig said.

Yob said Wednesday that Craig’s accusations against the MSP are “a stupid thing for him to get caught lying about.”

“It is sad to see how far he has fallen so quickly in blaming Anthony and his finance team for his own memory problems.”

Also involved in the fundraising letter were two Craig campaign contractors: the Templar Baker Group, which is a Lansing-based political fundraising consultant, and HSP Direct, a Virginia-based direct mail company.

A Sept. 21, 2021 email in which Sara Prues of Templar Baker forwarded to Sarros a draft of the fundraising letter that included the “weak-kneed” reference to the MSP was made available to the Free Press.

Though the letter was apparently drafted last September, it was not mailed out until the middle of last month, long after both Sarros and Yob left the campaign. Craig’s campaign has not said why there was such a delay. […]

The campaign fundraising letter was not the first time Craig called out the MSP by name in connection with a lack of police response at his Sept. 14 announcement.

Craig appeared that night on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and said his campaign notified the local law enforcement agency in advance of the event and officials assured them “we will be there.” But law enforcement was a “no show,” and when officers did show, it was “well, we don’t know what to do, basically and they left,” he said in the interview.

“We need to hold Gov. Whitmer accountable for this. She oversees the Michigan State Police and the Department of (Natural) Resources that covers the island,” and “I know this was not accidental.”

The controversy over the fund-raising appeal is also not the first time Craig has renounced a letter bearing his signature.

In 2019, Craig said someone else signed his signature on a document that led to the reinstatement of a Detroit police sergeant fired for cowardice in 2014, WDIV-TV (Channel 4) in Detroit reported.

Sgt. Ronald Kidd was fired in 2014 after he allegedly stood by and did nothing while a fellow officer was beaten. Kidd’s subsequent reinstatement became an item of controversy when it was determined he failed to respond to a 2019 shooting that killed Officer Rasheen McClain.

Craig told the TV station that even though his name is on the paperwork approving Kidd’s return, he didn’t sign it.

“I hate to use the word ‘forged,’ because that constitutes a crime,” Craig said. “I would just say that someone signed my name and it was not my signature.”

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