Michigan Republicans counsel violence
A Republican state official in Michigan was stripped of committee assignments by GOP leaders Monday after refusing to rule out violence in the capital, Lansing, when electoral college members met to vote the state on Joe Biden as President of the United States to confirm states.
Rep. Gary Eisen, who tweeted a photo of a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition last year after Michigan’s governor proposed a gas tax, did not threaten violence during the radio interview that led to his discipline by the Michigan House spokesman
However, Eisen twice suggested that violence could arise in connection with a “Hail Mary” effort by himself and other GOP lawmakers to block the election of the electoral college for Democrat Biden over Republican Donald Trump.
His interviewer at WPHM-AM said he was “concerned about violence in Lansing today,” given Eisen’s vague description of what the Republicans were up to.
The interviewer then asked Eisen, “Can you assure me that this will be a safe day in Lansing, no one will be injured?”
The legislature paused and then said, “No.”
“I don’t know because what we’re doing today is unknown, it wasn’t done and I’m not doing it, it’s the Michigan House, it’s the Michigan Party … I’m only here to witness” said Eisen, who represents the St. Clair Ward.
Eisen later issued a statement saying he regretted “the confusion over my comments” and said he wanted to attend the event he spoke about “to prevent, not promote, violence”.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, said, “We, as elected officials, must understand that violence has no place in our democratic process. We must be held at a higher level.”
“As a result, Rep. Eisen was removed from his committee duties for the remainder of the term,” Chatfield said in a statement.
Chatfield also refused to nominate an alternate electoral roll for Trump on Monday, as the president’s allies have suggested.
“I fought hard for President Trump. Nobody wanted him to win more than me,” said Chatfield.
“I think he did an incredible job. But I also love our republic. I can’t believe risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution that changes voters retrospectively for Trump simply because some think there has been enough fraud spread to give him the victory, “said the spokesman.
“This is unprecedented for good reason. And so there is not enough support in the House to have a new list of voters. I fear we would lose our country forever. This would really be a mutually assured destruction in terms of any future election bring up. ” the electoral college. And I can’t stand for that. I will not. “
Eisen’s controversial remarks came when Michigan legislative buildings closed on Monday for security reasons.
And they came two months after six men were arrested on federal criminal charges for planning to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer prior to the presidential election. Authorities said the FBI overheard the men and others speak of attacks on the state capital.
In April, thousands of protesters, some of them armed, protested in the state capital against Whitmer’s home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year when Whitmer proposed a 45-cent tax on gasoline, Eisen tweeted a photo of a pistol, ammunition, and a magazine for those ammunition with the message, “The only number with 4 and 5 I’ll endorse is a 1911A1. 45 ACP pistol. “
“We have been consistent in our position on issues of violence and intimidation in politics – it is never appropriate and never acceptable,” Chatfield said in his statement Monday to Eisen.
“This includes threats or suggestions of violence against Governor Whitmer, Secretary of State (Jocelyn) Benson, Rep (Cynthia) Johnson, and other Oversight Committee members, Republicans, Democrats and Electoral College members.”
The electoral college will give Biden 306 votes today, 36 more than he needs to win the presidency.
Trump and many of his allies, including GOP members of state houses and Congress, have refused to admit that Biden won the election, making repeated unsubstantiated claims that the president was pulled out of victory by widespread electoral fraud. No lawsuit brought by Trump’s campaign or his allies has managed to invalidate a vote on a fraud lawsuit.
Trump’s team is now suggesting that state houses or the US Congress could annul Biden’s victory.
Eisen, who backed a failed Supreme Court lawsuit filed by Texas to prevent Michigan and three other states from confirming Biden’s votes in those states, said in his interview that legal methods are open to the state house, to deny Biden a win to Michigan.
He argued that there were legitimate questions about ballot abuse and possible fraud during the elections that justified delaying Biden’s selection as officials investigated these issues.
And he said he and other members of the GOP House were planning to take action on Monday to thwart Biden’s selection.
“This could be a historic event,” said Eisen without going into detail.
“This is an option given to the House and legislators under the United States Constitution. It’s not like we’re making this up.”
“This is a power the United States Constitution has given us when we believe there is ill-treatment [of ballots]If this choice is not on the rise, we can implement these powers. “
Eisen said he was asked Monday to “escort certain members into and out of the capital,” but a “wrench” was thrown into that plan when a “bomb threat” was shouted for Lansing from Wisconsin.
“How convenient,” said Eisen, questioning the legitimacy of this threat, which he alleged caused officials to shut down the state capital building. “We don’t know whether it was true or not.”
Eisen said security in the capital could not legally bar him from entry if he was on business.
But “if we do, we’ll move to another location” to try and plan the efforts he announced by Hail Mary, Eisen said.
“It’ll be all over the news later,” he added.
When his interviewer Eisen said it sounded dangerous, lawmakers replied, “It’s dangerous.”
“I was warned that there would be violence, there would be protests,” added Eisen.
“We have been warned there could be outbreaks of violence … in Lansing, and they suggest that everyone stay home, and that’s not how we work in America.”
Later on Monday, Eisen issued a statement saying, “I regret the confusion over my comments this morning and want to reassure everyone that those of us who support an alternate electoral roll will do so peacefully and legally.”
“I wanted to attend today’s event to prevent violence, not to promote it. I no longer plan to go to the Capitol with this group today,” Eisen said on WILX-10 TV in Michigan.
“My comments should reflect that our group wants to be peaceful, but I didn’t feel I could speak for other groups,” said Eisen.
“Apparently some people are threatening violence in a credible manner today, and I’m glad that the local law enforcement agencies are on hand to prevent such measures and protect everyone. Our group, which will also be in the Capitol today, to vote for a seat apply intends to participate peacefully in our democracy. We are all concerned about security today and hope for a safe, legal and clear process in the Capitol. “