Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI), who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and also lost his primary last week, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Democrats’ decision to run ads to help his Trump-backed opponent was likely to backfire “in a spectacular way.”
Partial transcript as follows:
BRENNAN: Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump following the attack on the Capitol. Last Tuesday, he lost his primary race against a Trump-endorsed challenger. Congressman Meijer is with us this morning from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Good morning to Congressman. The person who won that primary is an election denier named John Gibbs, and he is backed by former President Trump. Why do you think Michigan Republicans favored him?
MEIJER: Well good morning, Margaret. And as you said, I lost my primary and that is on me. I take responsibility for that. But it’s important to note that it wasn’t just former President Trump, who was in this race, there was about a half million dollars that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in their first expenditures of the 2022 midterms dumped in to help boost him. So we had a scenario where not only did I have the former president aligned against me, but in a rare showing of bipartisan unity, Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Campaign Committee, also united to try to knock me off the ballot. Now, this just highlights the cynicism and hypocrisy of our politics today. And frankly, it’ll be unknowable what that ultimate impact was, but the fact that we have the establishment left and the extreme right locking arms in common cause paints a very telling picture of where our politics are in 2022.
BRENNAN” Right, what you’re talking about there is an ad that the Democratic Congressional committee campaigns spent $325,000 on to boost Mr. Gibbs, which was almost as much as Gibbs spent on his entire campaign. That’s what you’re referring to, that’s what our viewers are looking at right there. But do you think that ad really made a difference? I mean Democrats aren’t voting in this primary, it’s Republicans, why did Michigan Republicans fall for this ad?
MEIJER: Well, you know, I think there is a clear question of agency here, of course, and at the end of the day, Republican voters are going to cast their votes as they see fit. I should note that this ad was not aimed at- was not playing on MSNBC, it was not playing in places where Democratic voters might see it, it was targeted in places to try to sway and convince Republican primary voters to try to give my primary challenger a boost up and over. And I should add that my defeat was by roughly 3%, out of over 100,000 votes cast, we lost by less than 4,000 votes, and I think that’s important to remember, when you have very close elections like this. And obviously competing against very strong headwinds, having a Trump-endorsed challenger in a party where President Trump still holds over 75% approval. That a message of focusing on the substance of what I’ve been able to accomplish in office. I’m proud that our office is on track to set a record for the most number of bills signed into law by a freshman, that those type of accomplishments get lost in our current personality politics, get lost in a broader sense. And I think that is one of the fundamental challenges that we have as a country, and that is, frankly, frustrating Michigan families. We are dealing with a politics that does not reward substance that does not reward, you know, reality. That focuses on rhetoric and personality above all else.
BRENNAN: Do you think Democrats are going to get what they paid for here? Right? I mean, they’re betting that would be easier to defeat. Mr. Gibbs than you. Is your district going to go to a Democrat?
REP. MEIJER: It’s important to note, this is a district that President Biden won in 2020 by roughly nine points, I was one of five Republicans running for reelection in seats where the- where President Biden won in the 2020 elections by eight or more points. And so while I think there was certainly a cynical calculus at play with the Democrats meddling, this is a risky strategy. It’s a dangerous strategy. Where President Biden is in his approval is so in the gutter, that it is hard to see that strategy- it is easy to see that strategy backfiring in a spectacular way, which is all the more reason why we should not be embracing the zero-sum idea of politics. We should not be embracing this- this notion that if we can keep a problem alive, keep it festering, but be able to gain a marginal advantage in the process, that that somehow equates to a victory. I think it’s a dark and cynical way of viewing our politics, that frankly, 48% of the electorate in the primary here rejected. They stood against that cynicism that they were focused on somebody who was working to deliver results.
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