The two most senior leaders in the Michigan legislature, both Republicans, on Monday affirmed the state’s electoral votes that would formalize Joseph R. Biden’s victory, as a fellow lawmaker was punished for suggesting there may be violence at the meeting of electors.
In blistering terms, House Speaker Lee Chatfield wrote that he “can’t fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win,” describing such a move as “unprecedented for good reason.”
“That’s why there is not enough support in the House to cast a new slate of electors,” he added. “I fear we’d lose our country forever. This truly would bring mutually assured destruction for every future election in regards to the Electoral College. And I can’t stand for that. I won’t.”
Last month, Mr. Chatfield and Mike Shirkey, the state Senate majority leader, were both summoned by President Trump to the White House in a bid to get lawmakers to substitute their own slate of electors. The two men, both rumored to be interested in higher office, went through with the visit but rebuffed Mr. Trump’s request.
Mr. Biden won Michigan by about 150,000 votes, a much greater margin than in the other most hotly contested battlegrounds. The electors upheld those results on Monday afternoon.
“Michigan’s Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free from threats of violence and intimidation,” Mr. Shirkey said. “President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris won Michigan’s presidential election. It our responsibility as leaders to follow the law and move forward in pursuit of policies that contribute to the betterment of Michigan.”
Also on Monday, Mr. Chatfield and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth stripped a state representative of his committee assignments after he suggested that efforts to block the state’s Electoral College vote could turn violent.
“Can you assure me that this is going to be a safe day in Lansing, nobody’s going to get hurt?” a local radio host asked the representative, Gary Eisen, a Trump supporter, hours after legislative leaders shuttered legislative offices over threats that groups were intending to violently disrupt the process.
“No,” responded Mr. Eisen, according to audio of the interview. “I don’t know because what we’re doing today is uncharted. It hasn’t been done.”
Mr. Eisen said that the Constitution gave legislators the right to stop the electors if the state’s results were not “up and up.” He complained that the security measures, put in place by leaders in his own party because of bomb threats, prevented pro-Trump legislators from entering the Capitol to protest the proceedings.
He said that he still planned to participate in an “event” organized by Republicans, but, when pressed, he declined to elaborate on what it would entail other than to say it would be “all over the news later on.”
When his interviewer, Paul Miller of WPHM in Port Huron, interrupted to call those plans “dangerous,” Mr. Eisen replied, “It is dangerous.”
Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives responded quickly after his comments were circulated widely on social media, citing the federal indictment of 13 far-right extremists for plots that included kidnapping Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and storming 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 Mr. Chatfield and Mr. Wentworth.
“We as elected officials must be clear that violence has no place in our democratic process. We must be held to a higher standard,” they added. “Because of that, Representative Eisen has been removed from his committee assignments for the rest of the term.”
Mr. Eisen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He currently serves as vice chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and serves as a member of the agriculture, local government and environmental committees.
Ms. Whitmer said the threat of violence was discouraging.
“I think that every person, whether they are a man or a woman, Republican or anyone Democrat, Yooper or downstater,” she said, using nicknames for people who live in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, “should be able to stand up and say we respect our institutions, even if we don’t like the result.”
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