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Michigan GOP Rep. Gary Eisen removed from committees following controversial statements

Gary Eisen

A Republican state lawmaker has lost his committee assignments for appearing to endorse violence as a possibility to block Monday's proceedings to award Michigan’s electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.

State Representative Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair) later said he was misunderstood. This is part of what Eisen said during an interview on WPHM-AM in Port Huron.

“I was warned there was going to be violence, there was going to be protests, and they asked me if I would assist today and said, and you know what I said, how can I not?”

Eisen said in the interview he could not guarantee people would not be hurt.

A group did show up at the Capitol to try and replace the Democratic electors with a slate of Republicans, but was stopped at the door without incident. It’s not clear if Eisen was talking about this or some other effort. But he said in a phone interview with WPHM in Port Huron that violence was a possibility and he planned to show up in a supporting role.

“Am I going to just give up, or am I going to do that ‘Hail Mary?’”

Eisen later said he would not go to the Capitol.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said the comments were out of bounds. There’s no word whether the sanction will continue when the new session begins in 2021. The 2020 session ends this week.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer agreed with GOP leaders that the comments are “unacceptable.”

Chatfield removed Democratic state Representative Cynthia Johnson (D-Detroit) from her committee assignments last week. That was following a social media post that House GOP leaders say appeared to endorse violence.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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