Michigan regent denounces 'cynical lies' about 2020 election

Craig Mauger Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Defeating individuals who reject truth and democracy is "the struggle for our time," University of Michigan regent Jordan Acker declared during a speech at a Thursday board meeting.

Acker, a Democrat, addressed the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and unsubstantiated claims of fraud focused on the Nov. 3 election. He contended that people cannot reject others they simply disagree with but have to reject "those who disdain democracy."

Jordan Acker

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"We must all live in the same basic truth: The election of 2020 was not stolen, the insurrection was not a hoax, and that our government can only endure when the losers of an election accept the legitimacy of defeat," Acker said.

The election's results, including Democratic President Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in Michigan, are "not matters of opinion" but are facts, Acker said during his speech at the beginning of the meeting.

"No man or woman can lead who denies objective truths," he said. "We cannot claim we are a democracy while standing with those who would reject it for conspiracy-laden minority rule."

Acker's speech did not reference fellow regent Ron Weiser, the new chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. But Weiser, an Ann Arbor businessman, has been criticized for choosing GOP activist Meshawn Maddock as his co-chair. Maddock supported efforts to overturn the results of the election last year as former President Donald Trump levied unproven claims of widespread election fraud.

Weiser did not attend Thursday's meeting.

On Dec. 14, as Michigan's presidential electors met, Maddock was among a group of Republicans who tried to enter the state Capitol to cast their own electoral votes for Trump. They were turned away by security.

According to a document filed in a court case, Maddock was one of 16 Michigan Trump "electors" who signed a certificate of votes for the president, who lost the state's election. The document said the GOP electors had "convened" in the Capitol, but they weren't actually allowed inside the building.

The men and women who physically stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are no different than those who "screamed that the election was stolen, rigged and a hoax or funded these lies," Acker said during his speech.

"These cynical lies of political convenience were made knowing that citizens would believe them. There was, in fact, no steal to stop," Acker said. "These lies are every bit as dangerous as the men and women who killed and maimed on their behalf."

cmauger@detroitnews.com