Former Michigan AG Schuette plans to promote Trump

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News
Bill Schuette

Former Attorney General Bill Schuette has kept a low profile since losing the gubernatorial election to Whitmer in November, but the Midland Republican emerged this week to defend his Flint water investigation and hinted at a return to the political stage.

“I’m going to be a leader in the statewide campaign effort to re-elect the president,” Schuette said in a Wednesday morning radio interview on WILS-AM in Lansing, predicting Donald Trump will win Michigan for a second time.

He later told The Detroit News he’ll be part of the president’s campaign “leadership team” in Michigan, “however broad that might be." The Trump campaign has not yet announced any leadership roles in the state, and Schuette said he'll work in "whatever capacity is best for his victory."

Schuette served as Michigan chair for Jeb Bush’s primary campaign in 2016 before backing Trump in the general election and was state chair for Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. 

Schuette said he’s also helping raise money for competitive state House seats “to make sure we keep Republicans in charge of the Legislature to make sure we have fiscal discipline and economic growth.”

He appeared on the radio show to defend the team he assembled to lead an investigation into the Flint water crisis. Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel has suggested Schuette had political motives, and prosecutors working under her recently dismissed all charges and rebooted the probe.

“I don’t bash people, but I am setting the record straight about the quality of the investigation,” he said, arguing his team only pressed charges when warranted.

Asked about his own political future and if he might run for a job like the Michigan Supreme Court, Schuette said he is looking at a variety of public and private sector opportunities but is in no rush and is taking it “one election at a time.”

Schuette said he “has opinions” on things and may be ready to talk more specifics “about the direction of the state” by the fall, potentially at the Sept. 20-22 Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.

The former attorney general lost to Whitmer by nearly 10 percentage points last fall, but he’s made political comebacks before. He gave up a congressional seat in 1990 to run for the U.S. Senate but lost to incumbent Democrat Carl Levin.