Two senior lawmakers in the Republican state of Michigan stripped a state representative of his powers on the committee after suggesting that efforts to block Monday’s electoral college vote, which would hand the state over to President-elect Joseph R Biden Jr., could turn violent.
“Can you assure me that it will be a safe day in Lansing, no one will be hurt?” A local radio host asked Representative Gary Eisen, a Trump supporter, hours after legislative leaders shut down legislative offices on threats that groups intended to violently disrupt the process.
“No,” Eisen replied, according to the interview audio. “I don’t know because what we’re doing today is unknown. This has not been done.
Mr. Eisen said the constitution gave lawmakers the right to arrest voters if the state’s results were not “up.” He complained that security measures, stemming from the bomb threats and implemented by his own party leaders, prevented pro-Trump lawmakers from entering the Capitol to protest the procedure.
He said he still planned to attend a Republican-hosted “event” but, when pressed, declined to say what that would imply other than saying it would be “all over the place. news later ”.
When his interviewer, Paul Miller of WPHM in Port Huron, interrupted to call the plans “dangerous,” Mr. Eisen replied, “It’s dangerous.”
Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives reacted swiftly after his comments were circulated widely on social media, citing the federal indictment of 13 far-right extremists over plots including kidnapping of Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the storming of the State Capitol to protest coronavirus restrictions.
“We have been consistent in our position on issues of violence and intimidation in politics – it is never appropriate and never acceptable,” wrote Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and President-elect Jason Wentworth.
“As elected officials, we must be clear that violence has no place in our democratic process. We need to be held to a higher standard, ”they added. “For this reason, Representative Eisen was removed from his committee duties for the remainder of the term.”
Mr. Eisen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He is currently vice-chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is a member of the Agriculture, Local Government and Environment Committees.
Ms Whitmer said the threat of violence was disheartening.
“I think every person, whether male or female, Republican or anyone Democrat, Yooper or downstater,” she said, using nicknames for people who live on the upper and lower peninsulas from Michigan, “should be able to show up. and let’s say we respect our institutions, even if we don’t like the outcome.
Last month, Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to the White House in an attempt to get lawmakers to replace their own voters lists. The two men, who would both have been interested in higher positions, were reluctant to go and rejected her request.
Mr. Biden won Michigan by about 150,000 votes, a much larger margin than in other more contested battlegrounds. Voters are expected to confirm these results Monday afternoon.
Kathleen Gray contributed reporting.