Michigan GOP Chair Ron Weiser is facing a big backlash to cruel comments he made last month at a North Oakland Republican Club meeting. The comments, which The Detroit News first published online in a video format last Friday, showed Weiser referring to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as witches.
Weiser was speaking about how Republicans could defeat the three in the 2022 election.
“Our job now is to soften up those three witches and make sure that we have good candidates against them, that they are ready for the burning at the stake,” he said.
And as if the comments against the elected Democrat leaders weren’t enough, Weiser took on two members of his own party, U.S. Reps. Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. When asked how the party could oust them, Weiser replied, “Other than assassination, I have no other way other than voting.”
Weiser’s comments were met with universal disapproval. Many called on Weiser, who also serves on the University of Michigan Board of Regents, to step down.
“I condemn any suggestion of violence against a duly elected state or federal official,” said UofM President Mark Schlissel. “Such words are particularly abhorrent in a climate where so recently the use of language has engendered violence and attempted violence directed at elected officials, our democratic institutions, and the individuals who guard them.”
In addition to Schlissel’s comment, four of Weiser fellow members of the Regents Board have called for him to step down. They include Jordan Acker, Michael Behm, Mark Bernstein and Mark Brown.
“The recent comments by Regent Weiser were misogynistic, divisive and reckless,” Brown said. “Degrading and inflammatory speech by any public official is inexcusable and should not be tolerated by good people.”
Ultimately, Weiser did try to walk his statements back.
“I apologize to those I offended for the flippant analogy about three women who are elected officials and for the off-hand comments about two other leaders,” he said in a statement. “I have never advocated for violence and never will. While I will always fight for the people and policies I believe in, I pledge to be part of a respectful political dialogue going forward.”
The apology was not good enough for gay Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, a Democrat.
“I’m disgusted that Ron Weiser came into Oakland County … and repeatedly insulted Michigan’s top elected officials in crude and sexist terms and even advocated for violence against them and two Republican congressmen,” Coulter said. “I get that politics is often a game of hardball, but in these times when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been the target of a kidnapping plot by domestic terrorists and a mob invaded the U.S. Capitol looking to harm elected leaders, such language is dangerous and has no place in our political discourse.”