The chairman of the Michigan Republican Party called the state’s top Democratic officials “witches” and joked about the assassination of members of the Republican Congress who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. Ron Weiser made both comments on camera during a meeting Thursday with a local Republican club.
Weiser was answering questions from the audience at the North Oakland Republican Club about the impeachment of US Representatives Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, two Michigan Republicans who voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment trial. Weiser told the crowd that the only way to change leadership was to “get out there and vote,” and said his first priorities were other Michigan races.
“We are focused on the three witches,” Weiser said, adding that he was also working to win Republican majorities in the state House and Senate.
The “witches” comment refers to three female leaders who will run for re-election in 2022: Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. All three are Democrats and became Republican targets for their opposition to Trump and his attempts to reverse his defeat in Michigan.
Whitmer, in particular, has come under misogynistic criticism for his handling of COVID-19 restrictions. She was also allegedly attacked by a botched
Some audience members rejected Weiser’s response, demanding answers on how to handle “witches in our own group.”
“Other than murder, I have no other way than to vote, okay?” Weiser replied. “People have to come out and support their opponents. They have to do whatever it takes to get the vote in those areas. This is how you win people over.”
Weiser also called women “witches” in a different part of his comments, saying that Republicans wanted to “soften those three witches and make sure we have good candidates to compete against them, that they are ready to be burned at the stake.” . . “
The Detroit News first reported on the comments and posted a video of the event.
Weiser is a member of the University of Michigan board of regents, and at least two members have said he should resign over the comments, according to the Detroit Free Press. Both called her comment about women politicians sexist.
“This language and behavior is incompatible with service to the University of Michigan,” Jordan Acker, member of the Democratic Regents, wrote on Twitter. “Given that, the only appropriate response, and the best thing for the University of Michigan, is for Ron Weiser to resign.”
Whitmer’s press secretary Bobby Ledd cited recent death threats against Michigan elected officials and condemned Weiser’s comments.
“This kind of rhetoric is destructive and downright dangerous,” he said in a press release.
Nessel, the attorney general, responded with a tweet showing her, Whitmer and Benson wearing witch hats drawn on their heads against a Halloween background.
“Witches that magically reduce the spread of Covid, increase voter turnout, and hold sexual predators accountable without the help of the legislature?” she wrote. Enroll me in that coven. Do better, Michigan Republican Party.
CBS News has reached out to Weiser and the Michigan Republican Party for comment. A Weiser spokesman told The Associated Press that Weiser’s comments made it clear that he supports the primary process for choosing Republican nominees, but did not address the “witches” comment.