8645 Meaning? Laura Ingraham Says Gretchen Whitmer Sign Refers to Assassinating Trump

Fox News host Laura Ingraham has highlighted claims that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a subtle reference to Donald Trump being "assassinated"—a theory which led Ingraham to suggest it is not the president who is "promoting the violence."

Ingraham raised the idea, which was originally flagged by Trump's campaign team, on Monday. It is based on the numbers "8645" having been seen behind Whitmer during her interview with NBC the previous day.

During Whitmer's appearance, the governor accused Trump of inciting terrorism and claimed the president encouraged the recent militia plot to kidnap her with his rhetoric and verbal attacks on her this year. Whitmer also condemned the "lock her up" chants aimed at her during Trump's rally in Michigan on Saturday, just days after the plot was thwarted.

Following the interview, the Trump War Room account, which is managed by the president's campaign team, tweeted: "Governor Gretchen Whitmer displayed an '86 45' sign during her TV appearance. 86 can be shorthand for killing someone,"

"Whitmer is encouraging assassination attempts against President Trump just weeks after someone sent a ricin-laced package to the White House."

When used in slang, the phrase "eighty-six" is used in the restaurant business as code for refusing to serve, to "get rid of", or to "throw out" a customer, according to Merriam-Webster.

In recent times, the phrase has also been used to refer to the act of killing, the online dictionary notes, although it suggests a "sparseness of use" for this particular meaning.

The "45" was taken by some commentators to be a reference to Trump, the 45th President of the United States. The number "8645" can be found on a number of anti-Trump items and merchandise

"Apparently, the Trump campaign says that the small 8645 sign—I couldn't really see that—refers to assassinating the president," Ingraham said after showing a clip of Whitmer's interview.

"But Trump is the one promoting the violence."

In response, one of Ingraham's guests, historian Victor Davis Hanson, claimed that recent violence in the U.S. has been "overwhelmingly" caused by Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, and that the left highlight white supremacist violence as a "false moral equivalence."

Several Republicans also believe the "8645" sign was a reference to assassinate the president.

"Last night, I said the 'lock her up' chant was wrong. And I believe that," tweeted state House Speaker Lee Chatfield. "Well today, the Governor encouraged more hate by having an '8645' pin. (Attack? Kill?) This doesn't help. This is wrong too."

Michigan Republican Party chair Laura Cox added: "Governor Whitmer has the gall to go on Meet the Press this morning complaining about President Trump's rhetoric, but in the background displays a phrase which calls for the killing of President Trump! This is truly disgusting."

Responding to the claims about the 8645 numbers, a spokesperson for Whitmer said: "The silly season is officially here. It's pretty clear nobody in the Trump campaign has ever worked a food service job.

"Here's the bottom line: the president is not only a super spreader of COVID-19, he is also a super spreader of hate and fear. His divisive rhetoric needs to stop, and we need a president who will bring Americans together to defeat COVID-19."

In 2018, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at a restaurant in Virginia because she worked for Trump.

A photograph was later posted onto Twitter of a note written by the restaurant's owner reading "86 — Sarah Huckabee Sanders."

Whitmer's office has been contacted for additional comment.

Laura Ingraham
Talk show host Laura Ingraham speaks during CPAC 2019 in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 28, 2019. Alex Wong/Getty