The following is a transcript of an interview with GOP Rep. Michigan’s Peter Meijer that aired on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, August 7, 2022.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump after the Capitol attack. Last Tuesday, he lost his primary race to a Trump-approved challenger. Congressman Meijer is with us this morning from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Good morning congressman. The person who won that primary is an election denier named John Gibbs, and he is backed by former President Trump. Why do you think Michigan Republicans favored him?
REP. PETER MEIJER: Well, good morning, Margaret. And like you said, I lost my primary and that’s on me. I take responsibility for that. But it’s important to note that it wasn’t just former President Trump who was in this race, there was about half a million dollars that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dumped into their first issues of the 2022 midterms to help give him a boost. to give. So we had a scenario where not only was the former president against me, but in a rare display of bipartisan unity, Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Campaign Committee also banded together to try and get me off the ballot. This only highlights the cynicism and hypocrisy of our current politics. And frankly, it will be unknowable what that ultimate impact was, but the fact that we have the establishment left and the far-right poor in common paints a very telling picture of where our politics stand in 2022.
MARGARET BRENNAN” Right, what you’re talking about is an ad that the Democratic Congressional Committee’s campaigns spent $325,000 to boost Mr. Gibbs, which was almost as much as Gibbs spent on his entire campaign. That’s what you’re looking at. refers, that’s what our viewers are looking at. But do you think that ad really made a difference? I mean, Democrats don’t vote in this primary, it’s Republicans, why did Michigan Republicans fall for this ad?
REP. MEIJER: Well, you know, I think of course there is a clear issue of agency here, and at the end of the day the Republican voters will vote as they see fit. I should note that this ad was not intended – was not played on MSNBC, was not played in places Democratic voters might see it, it was aimed at places to try to convince Republican primary voters to try my primary voice give challenger a boost on and over. And I should add that my defeat was by about 3%, out of the 100,000+ votes cast, we lost by less than 4,000 votes, and I think it’s important to remember, when you have very close elections like this one. And of course competing against very strong headwinds, with a Trump-approved challenger in a party where President Trump still has over 75% approval. That’s a message to focus on the content of what I’ve been able to achieve in the office. I’m proud that our office is on track to set a record for the highest number of bills signed by a freshman that that kind of achievement is lost in our current personality politics, lost in a broader sense. And I think that’s one of the fundamental challenges that we’re facing as a country, and that’s frankly frustrating the families in Michigan. We’re dealing with a politics that doesn’t reward substance that doesn’t reward the, you know, reality.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But does that mean…
REP. MEIJER: That mainly focuses on rhetoric and personality.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think the Democrats here are getting what they paid for? Right? I mean, they bet that’s easier to beat. Mr Gibbs than you. Is your district going to a Democrat?
REP. MEIJER: It’s important to note that this is a district that President Biden won by about nine points in 2020. I was one of five Republicans who ran for reelection to seats President Biden won in the 2020 election by eight or more points. And while I think there was certainly some cynical analysis at play with the Democrat meddling, this is a risky strategy. It’s a dangerous strategy. Where President Biden has his approval is so in the gutter, it’s hard to see that strategy – it’s easy to see that strategy backfire in spectacular fashion, which is all the more reason why we don’t should embrace – total idea of politics. We shouldn’t be embracing this – this idea that if we can keep a problem alive, keep it alive, but be able to gain a marginal advantage in the process, that somehow equals to a victory. I think it’s a dark and cynical way of looking at our politics, which frankly rejected 48% of voters in the primaries here. They resisted that cynicism that they aimed at someone who worked to get results.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Your Republican colleague Liz Cheney is about to face a primary in her state on Aug. 16, former Vice President Dick Cheney, her father, released this video.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney (SOT): “In the 246-year history of our nation, there has never been a person who poses a greater threat to our Republic than Donald Trump. He tried to steal the last election with lies and violence to control himself power after the voters rejected him He is a coward A real man would not lie to his supporters He lost his election and he lost a lot I know He knows And deeply inside I think most Republicans know.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is Mr. Cheney there, because 57% of Republicans told CBS News that they are more likely to vote for a candidate who gets the approval of the former president. Is the former president, the leader of the Republican Party or the greatest threat to the Republic of our country?
REP. MEIJER: Well, I definitely think President Trump wants to keep those numbers high. He wants that degree of influence, and I mentioned earlier the common cause between the extremes on the right and the establishment left. Nancy Pelosi, I think she wakes up every day and crosses her fingers that Donald Trump will be president in 2024, that he’s announcing well before the midterm elections, because right now the midterm elections will be a referendum on President Biden’s leadership and Chairman Pelosi and many of my House Democratic colleagues do not want that. They want it to be a referendum on former President Trump and I think former President Trump wants that too.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’ll look at that primary. And Congressman, thank you for joining us today. We will be right back.