Rachelle Smit, a Trump-endorsed representative, praised William and Michael Null for their “courage, unflagging spirit and dedication” in a tribute at a press conference in Allegan on Friday.
Ms Smit presented the 41-year-old men with a plaque with an official Michigan state coat of arms hailing their “courageous efforts to expose the government’s false flag Whitmer conspiracy”.
The Null brothers and a third man, Eric Molitor, were found not guilty of providing support for a terrorist act and a weapons charge by a jury last month.
Prosecutors alleged that the trio had participated in the kidnapping plot and taken part in military drills and travelled to governor’s lakeside vacation home in Elk Rapids, in northern Michigan.
They were the last of 14 men charged over the militia kidnapping plot on the eve of the 2020 presidential election. Nine were convicted and sent to prison, while five were acquitted.
In a framed “special tribute” declaration presented to Michael Null, Ms Smit wrote: “His victory further exposed the depravity of this government, and the corruption within state and federal secret police forces, which masquerade as legitimate law enforcement.”
It recognised Mr Null for his “excellence in service to the Republics of the State of Michigan and the United States of America”.
A spokesperson for the Governor’s office tole The Independent in a statement that the accolade was “disturbing”.
“Today Republican leadership awarded a tribute praising individuals that were charged with plotting to kidnap and kill the governor,” the spokesperson said.
“This goes beyond the pale. These types of actions normalise and incite violence against our political figures, and only serve to shake our faith in our values and our institutions.”
Ms Smit did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Independent.
The Null brothers were portrayed as anti-government extremists who were angry with Ms Whitmer’s decision to close down schools and businesses during the Covid pandemic.
The plotters were being secretly monitored by the FBI for months, and were arrested in October 2020 before they could carry out the plan.
William Null testified in his own defence that he had attended gun drills and taken a drive to the Governor’s property. He said he and his brother had pulled away from the group when they began discussing explosives.
FBI informants had infiltrated the group and been monitoring them for months before arrests were made in October 2020.