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Michigan Democratic Party calls on 3 GOP reps to resign

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

The Michigan Democratic Party is demanding three Republicans resign from Congress after they voted last week to support challenges to the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden in two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania. 

The party on Tuesday accused U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman of Watersmeet, Tim Walberg of Tipton and Lisa McClain of Bruce Township of seeking to "undermine the will of voters" across Michigan and the nation by repeating President Donald Trump's unproven claims of election fraud and misconduct. 

Michigan Democratic Party COO Lavora Barnes

“Reps. Walberg, McClain, and Bergman’s actions have been nothing short of an attack on our democracy, a betrayal of those who they represent and an attempt to overturn a legitimate election in favor of a wannabe authoritarian," said Lavora Barnes, chair of the state Democratic Party. 

"Their conduct is a disgrace to the three congressional districts they represent and to all the people of Michigan. They each should resign — immediately." 

Walberg spokesman Dan Kotman said Barnes' statement was "yet another example of stunning hypocrisy" from Michigan Democrats.

"We can’t seem to find any statements from their party in 2017 and 2005 when House Democrats, including two from Michigan, similarly voted to object," Kotman said.

"Rep. Walberg is honored to serve the 7th District and will continue to listen to and provide a voice for the communities who overwhelmingly elected him."

McClain's office did not comment, but the congresswoman reached out and requested to meet "immediately" with Barnes in response to her statement. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, McClain had not heard back, an aide said. 

The three Michigan GOP lawmakers each condemned the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters last week. Rioters attacked police officers, breached the Senate and tried to force their way into the House, where lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes ahead of certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win.

Walberg and Bergman were in the House at the time, along with three other Michigan lawmakers, and had to be evacuated. Two people including a Capitol Police officer were killed in the chaos. Three others died due to medical emergencies. 

Despite the delay caused by the insurrection, Congress reconvened, resumed debate overnight and voted down both objections, ratifying Biden's victory around 3:30 a.m. Thursday. 

Other Michigan Democratic officials including Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint Township blamed Wednesday's violence on Trump and his allies and have called for the president's removal.

Kildee has also demanded an apology from his GOP colleagues, saying their support for Trump's attempt to overturn the election "added fuel to this raging mob."

Democrats aren't the only ones upset with the Republicans who forged ahead with objections to Electoral College votes after the pro-Trump mob was cleared from the building. 

Freshman GOP Rep. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids Township this week criticized colleagues who "doubled down, repeating lies of a stolen election, baselessly deflecting blame for the Capitol assault from Trump loyalists to Antifa, doing whatever they could to justify, equivocate, rationalize or otherwise avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions."

"This should be a moment of reckoning for the country as a whole, and the conservative movement in particular," Meijer wrote in an op-ed for The Detroit News

"If the Republican party ever hopes to regain the public’s trust and lead the country forward after this heinous assault, it must first be honest with itself."

mburke@detroitnews.com