Newly sworn-in GOP rep: Some Republicans voted to overturn election due to fears for 'safety of their families'

Newly sworn-in GOP rep: Some Republicans voted to overturn election due to fears for 'safety of their families'
Image via Screengrab / Facebook

In a phone interview with Reason reporter Matt Welch published on January 8, newly sworn in Republican Rep. Peter Meijer, of Michigan, wasted no words in condemning those responsible for the attempted toppling of our government. But he also reported a chilling detail from the events of that night: Rep. Meijer claims that some Republican lawmakers voted to throw out the ballots from Arizona and Pennsylvania not because they truly believed Trump's claims, but were concerned for "the safety of their families."

"One of the saddest things is I had colleagues who, when it came time to recognize reality and vote to certify Arizona and Pennsylvania in the Electoral College, they knew in their heart of hearts that they should've voted to certify, but some had legitimate concerns about the safety of their families. They felt that that vote would put their families in danger," said Meijer.

That, too, is a signal of just how dangerous the American fascist movement and Donald Trump have become. If lawmakers are altering votes based on the threats Trump and his allies pose to their own families—and in light of a genuine coup attempt looking to murder those disloyal to Trump, their concerns are valid—then we are already in a period in which our government's actions are being controlled, at least in part, by terrorists.

Through the rest of the interview, Rep. Meijer was clear-eyed as to was responsible for fomenting this insurrection against our nation. And it should be singled out, because the congressman stands largely alone in his party in saying so.

"[Trump supporters] were being lied to. They were being misled. Some of my colleagues in Congress, they share responsibility for that. Many of them were fundraising off of this Stop the Steal grift. I don't understand how you can look in the mirror and go to sleep at night without that weighing on your conscience, I fundamentally do not. I'm just at a loss for words about how some of them have acted in ways that are just knowingly, provably false. And they know they're lying, too.

"I mean maybe I'm coming in here with too naive an expectation of human capacity and decency, but I also was an interrogator in Iraq, so it's not like I'm a Pollyanna."

And he sounds truly furious with his Republican colleagues:

"What to me was the most bewildering was folks giving speeches that were written that morning as if we weren't in a body that had windows broken in just a few hours earlier, law enforcement drawing weapons. As if a woman hadn't been shot and killed 100 feet from where they stood, right? There was still dried blood out there. And they were giving the exact same speeches, the exact same arguments, telling what they thought their people wanted to hear rather than telling them what they needed to hear."

But it is the news that at least a few of those colleagues stood by their "provably false" claims because they feared pro-Trump forces would target their own families that turns Wednesday's events darker still. Trump's terrorist allies did not need to succeed in their insurrection to bend some in Congress towards their demands. The threats were sufficient.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.