Peter Meijer’s first couple of weeks as a U.S. Congressman certainly didn’t go as planned. A Capitol riot followed by impeachment is much different than the experiences of those who came before him.
The Michigan Republican, who replaced Libertarian Justin Amash, was one of a few GOPers who voted in favor of impeaching soon-to-be-ex President Donald Trump for the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol. Meijer’s sticking by his guns on the vote despite admitting he thought long and hard before voting his conscience.
“This was not a decision that was arrived at lightly in any way, shape or form,” he told Grand Rapids Press on Saturday noting he expects a primary challenge in 2022. “It was only after basically nonstop agonizing and deliberation. I couldn’t help but come back to the fact that in order for us to heal, in order for us to move past this point, in order to get to a point where we can talk about unity — we have to have accountability for what happened.”
It’s worth noting Meijer refused to take the bait during an appearance Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and defended the Republicans who voted against impeachment.
.@GStephanopoulos: “How do you explain why so few of your Republican colleagues agreed with you on impeachment?”
Rep. Peter Meijer: “To me the challenge is not what the individual concern of one individual was, it’s what happens when all those concerns become a collective.” pic.twitter.com/KFk0Rp1yf3
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 17, 2021
His criticism of the party’s blind loyalty to Trump is something that cannot be ignored.
How do Meijer’s constituents feel? Meijer mentioned some praised his willingness to possibly risk his career while others expressed their anger in no uncertain terms. The vote also led to threats serious enough for Meyer to invest in body armor and make some changes to how he goes about his day.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen next. We weren’t expecting for the Capitol to get overrun for the first time in 200 years,” he told MSNBC. “And so in this unprecedented environment with an unprecedented degree of fear of divisiveness and hatred, we have to account for every scenario.”
The words are disconcerting but sensible given Meijer’s service in the Iraq War. His Army training prepares him for the worst while hoping for the best. What comes next is anyone’s guess.
There are still plenty of worry for the future. No one expected the images from Washington, DC of what’s essentially a police state with military checkpoints, closed bridges, and unscaleable fences. It goes beyond any of the post-September 11th measures in The District leaving one wondering if it will ever end up going back to what it was before. My fear is it won’t, and we’re likely to see more tightening of the nation’s Capitol, if not other major cities, before long.
Yet Meijer’s vote is one deserving of praise. He voted his conscience after looking at the evidence presented by the House. Meijer’s not likely to switch to the Democratic Party given his professed beliefs in free markets, the 2nd Amendment, federalism, reduced government spending, and border security. He is a politician, however, so the proof will end up being his voting record. This vote doesn’t appear to be one of political convenience but of conscience.