Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) railed Monday against the hypocrisy of Democrats who have bankrolled his far-right conspiracy theorist primary challenger while condemning the pro-Donald Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Meijer, who is seeking a second term representing Michigan’s 3rd District, wrote in an essay for the website Common Sense on the eve of the Aug. 2 primary that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been among the biggest financial backers of his Trump-endorsed opponent, John Gibbs.
“In one of many such naked political gambits aimed at elevating the weaker Republican candidate ahead of the November midterm elections, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched a $435,000 ad buy to promote the election-denying Gibbs in the final days leading up to our primary,” wrote Meijer, who added that the amount was more than Gibbs raised during his campaign and was nearly 100 times the $5,000 contribution Gibbs received from Trump’s Save America Super PAC.
“In other words, the Democrats are not merely attempting to boost a candidate over the finish line: They are subsidizing his entire campaign,” the congressman said.
Meijer, one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the Capitol riot, went on note that Gibbs — a former official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Trump — “denies the results of the 2020 presidential election,” “has accused Obama administration officials of taking part in bizarre Satanic rituals,” “defended antisemites on his now-locked Twitter account, and has tweeted that Democrats are the party of ‘Islam, gender-bending, anti-police, ‘u racist!’”
By contrast, Meijer said, he was the first freshman lawmaker to recognize President Biden’s election win and was in the Capitol when rioters tried to disrupt Congress’ certifying of the Electoral College count.
“[Y]ou would think that the Democrats would look at John Gibbs and see the embodiment of what they say they most fear. That as patriots they would use every tool at their disposal to defeat him and similar candidates that they’ve said are an existential threat,” the Republican wrote. “Instead they are funding Gibbs.
“Watching this unraveling inside my party has been utterly bewildering,” Meijer went on. “The only thing that has been more nauseating has been the capacity of my Democratic colleagues to sell out any pretense of principle for political expediency — at once decrying the downfall of democracy while rationalizing the use of their hard-raised dollars to prop up the supposed object of their fears.”
Meijer isn’t the only one speaking out about the controversial Democratic tactic of pushing fringe GOP candidates in the primary with the idea they will be easier to defeat in November — some Democrats are as well.
“Dirty games like this are part and parcel of political campaigns. But when you talk about putting money behind candidates who want to come to Washington and destroy our democracy … it’s not a political dirty trick anymore,” Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) told Politico last week.
Some Democrats fear that propping up candidates like Gibbs could backfire and propel them into office, given President Biden’s low approval rating.
“I do want to win these races, but it makes me worried,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told the outlet. “I just really worry about promoting election deniers and this idea that we’re going to be able to control what voters want at the end of the day.”
In addition to Meijer’s race, Democrats have used a similar tactic in primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado and Illinois.
“Conventional wisdom dictates that these extreme candidates are less electable than the normal Republicans Democrats targeted to defeat. But with a historically unpopular president in Joe Biden and inflation at 40-year highs, less-electable doesn’t mean un-electable,” Meijer said.
“If successful, Republican voters will be blamed if any of these candidates are ultimately elected, but there is no doubt Democrats’ fingerprints will be on the weapon,” he concluded. “We should never forget it.”