U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer — a freshman Republican congressman from Michigan who was among those in the U.S. House chamber when President Donald Trump incited a deadly insurrection at the nation's Capitol building last week — says he and his colleagues have turned to dramatic measures to protect themselves following House's 232-197 vote to impeach President Trump exactly one week before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
When asked about his personal safety, Meijer said that he and his family have been “preparing” and “planning” for violent attempts or threats against them as a result of the riots last week, and confessed that many of his colleagues have enlisted security escorts, as well as made “reimbursable” body armor purchases.
Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans, including fellow Michigander Rep. Fred Upton, who bucked their party and voted to impeach Trump on Wednesday for inciting violence at the Capitol. On Thursday morning, the freshman lawmaker told MSNBC's Hallie Jackson that death threats did not factor into his vote — instead, it came down to accountability.
"If we let [threats] guide decisions, then you're cowering to the mob," he said. "I mean, that's the definition of terrorism. It's trying to achieve a political end using violence."
Republican Rep. Meijer on threats sent to Congress:— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 14, 2021
“Many of us are altering our routines, working to get body armor, which is a reimbursable purchase that we can make. It's sad that we have to get to that point. But our expectation is that someone may try to kill us.” pic.twitter.com/ybyKSWe3Bh
“It's sad that we have to get to that point. But our expectation is that someone may try to kill us,” Meijer said, adding that he's unsure as to what will happen next, but says that “in this unprecedented environment” he and other representatives must “account for every scenario.”
On Wednesday, during the House vote, Meijer published a statement supporting his reason for moving toward Trump's second impeachment.
“President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week,” Meijer wrote. “With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump.”
He said that the vote is a “call to action for us to reflect on these events and seek ways to correct them.”
Trump is the first president to ever be impeached twice. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected calls to bring back the Senate from recess before Trump's final day in office on Jan. 19 for an immediate trial on the articles of impeachment, the next step in the process.
Yesterday’s assault on the Capitol didn’t have to happen. Politicians who spread the lies that incited this violence bear responsibility. Politicians who continue to lie in order to shift blame and falsely claim this was Antifa or BLM, are contemptible. More thoughts: pic.twitter.com/ZbMPfPXEi5— Rep. Peter Meijer (@RepMeijer) January 7, 2021
Meijer, from Grand Rapids, is a member of the family that owns the eponymous Michigan-based chain of grocery stores. He took the seat left by U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a former Republican who left the party for the Libertarian Party. Amash also voted to impeach Trump the first time.
Grand Rapids' Kent County, historically a Republican stronghold, flipped blue in 2020, one of several communities in Michigan that helped Biden win the state.
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