This conservative congressman wonders if he has a future in the GOP after voting to impeach Trump

This conservative congressman wonders if he has a future in the GOP after voting to impeach Trump
Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, Wikimedia Commons

Although some right-wing Republicans in Congress are willing to stand up to Donald Trump and the MAGA movement — including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — most Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are afraid to publicly criticize the former president and fear that doing so will hurt them politically. Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan is among the minority of House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the January 6 insurrection — a vote that MAGA Republicans in Michigan deeply resent him for. And The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta, in an article published on December 7, stresses that the 33-year-old Meijer now finds himself wondering whether or not he has a future in the GOP.

Elected to the House in 2020, the freshman congressman had only been on the job for three days when the U.S. Capitol Building was violently attacked by a mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists on January 6. Meijer told The Atlantic that he felt “like I’d seen something sacred get trampled on,” but he knew that if he voted to impeach Trump, it could amount to “career suicide before my career ever began.” The congressman described the days before the impeachment vote as “the worst 96 hours of my life,” but he joined Cheney, Kinzinger and seven other House Republicans in voting to impeach.

Kinzinger told The Atlantic, “Of the ten, I’ve got the most respect for Peter — because he was brand new. There were other freshmen who talked a big game, but the pressure got to them. Honestly, on the day before the vote, I thought we’d have 25 with us. Then it fell apart; I’m surprised we wound up with ten. But what I recognized with Peter, during our conversations, was that he never talked about the political implications. And that was rare. If someone brought up the political implications, that was a good indicator that they weren’t going to vote with us. But the people who never brought it up, I knew they would follow through. And Peter was one of them.”

Meijer was reminded how Trumpified the GOP had become when, in February, the Calhoun County Republican Party and the Barry County Republican Party — both in his district in Michigan — voted to censure him. Then, in April, Meijer saw that he would be facing a primary challenge.

READ: A writer who predicted Trump's first coup attempt warns of an obscure legal doctrine he may exploit next time

Alberta notes, “Meijer will face multiple primary challengers in 2022, including a Trump-administration official, John Gibbs, who already has the former president’s endorsement against ‘RINO Congressman Peter Meijer.’ Because of the district’s moderate makeup and his ample finances, Meijer is favored to win reelection. What comes next is murkier.”

But even if he wins a second term in 2022, Alberta writes, Meijer worries about the GOP’s future.

“Meijer says he’s ‘pretty much’ resigned to Trump winning his party’s nomination in 2024, and worries that the odds of Trump returning to the White House are growing stronger as Biden’s presidency loses steam,” Alberta explains. “Meijer knows the strain Trump’s candidacy might place on a system that nearly buckled during the last election cycle. What’s worse: Meijer sees Trump inspiring copycats, some of them far smarter and more sophisticated, enemies of the American ideal who might succeed where Trump failed.”

Meijer told The Atlantic, “The real threat isn’t Donald Trump; it’s somebody who watched Donald Trump and can do this a lot better than he did.”

READ: The nasty legacy of Bob Dole

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