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14 Dec, 2020 19:13

Michigan Republican loses committee positions after promising Electoral College disruption, possible violence

Michigan Republican loses committee positions after promising Electoral College disruption, possible violence

Legislative leaders in Michigan have condemned comments from state representative Gary Eisen suggesting potential violence to disrupt voting on Monday by presidential electors. He has also lost his committee positions.

Eisen made waves on Monday morning when he described an upcoming “Hail Mary” attempt to turn the state’s 16 electors in President Donald Trump’s favor.

Eisen did not specify what this attempt would be, but he promised an “historic event” that would “be all over the news later on.”

Asked whether he could guarantee that there would be no violence at the State Capitol in Lansing, Eisen said he could not. 

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“No,” he responded. “I don't know because what we're doing today is uncharted. It hasn't been done."

Eisen said he would just be a “witness” at this unspecified protest to show that he “supports” the efforts.

State Republicans swiftly responded to Eisen’s interview by stripping him of his committee positions and condemning his comments.

“We as elected officials must be clear that violence has no place in our democratic process. We must be held to a higher standard. Because of that, Rep. Eisen has been removed from his committee assignments for the rest of the term,” Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield said in a statement. 

Tommy Zammit, a spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, denied having any knowledge of what Eisen was referring to.

It is possible he may have been referring to what happened later in the afternoon, when a a group of Republican lawmakers tried to enter the capitol building in Lansing and cast electoral votes for Trump, but were blocked by Michigan state police. 

Last week, another Michigan state representative, Democrat Cynthia Johnson, was accused of inciting violence over a video warning “Trumpers” to “walk lightly,” and telling her “soldiers” to “make them pay.” She also lost her committee positions.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) actually defended Johnson this week, urging people to have “a little bit of compassion and grace” and saying removing her from committee positions over the comments is “too far.” She has reached out to House leadership in an effort to get a reversal on the committee position decision. There is no word yet on if she will do the same for Eisen.

Legislative buildings in Michigan, one of several swing states Trump has alleged he lost because of voter fraud, were closed on Monday due to “safety concerns” around the electors voting that day to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the state. 

A state Senate spokesperson said there was a “credible threat of violence” that forced the closure.

White House adviser Stephen Miller did reveal in a ‘Fox & Friends’ interview on Monday that alternate electors would also be voting in favor of Trump and those results will be sent to Congress, along with the actual votes from official electors.

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