Macomb County GOP wants state party to censure Meijer, Upton

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Republicans in one of Michigan's largest counties want an "emergency session" of the state GOP committee to censure U.S. Reps. Peter Meijer and Fred Upton, party members who supported impeaching former President Donald Trump.

The Macomb County Republican Party's executive committee voted 28-0 on Feb. 11 to support a resolution against the two congressmen, according to a document obtained by The Detroit News.

The vote shows the support that remains in the Michigan GOP for Trump despite his loss in November and his efforts to overturn the results of the election.

U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, voted to impeach President Donald Trump for fomenting the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. He is pictured from July 2020 when he was running for office.

Macomb County "absolutely loves President Trump," said Lisa Mankiewicz, vice chairwoman of the Macomb County party, who confirmed the Feb. 11 vote occurred.

"We’re the party of MAGA," Mankiewicz said, referring to Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again."

"We back President Donald Trump. These men pretended to be supporters of Trump and turned out to be just the opposite," she said of Meijer and Upton.

Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, and Upton, R-St. Joseph, were among 10 U.S. House Republicans who supported Trump's impeachment Jan. 13 for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol a week earlier.

"The president betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the violent acts of insurrection last week," Meijer said in a statement last month. "With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump."

Meijer is in his first term in the U.S. House. Upton has been a Republican member of the U.S. House since 1987. Neither lawmaker's district includes Macomb County.

"The Constitution has to come first, I’m sorry," Upton said in January. "The president’s failure to take any blame for what happened last week is inexcusable." 

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph

After narrowly winning Michigan in 2016, Trump lost the state to Biden by 154,000 votes, 48%-51%, in November. However, his supporters maintain control of much of the state GOP's apparatus.

Multiple local parties have voted to censure either Meijer or Upton over their impeachment votes. The censures serve as a symbolic public criticism. A discussion about censuring Meijer was on the Monday night meeting agenda of the Kent County GOP's executive committee. But no formal censure was introduced, and the discussion was tabled, Executive Director Luke Arends said.

"We do not believe this will be brought up again," he added. 

​Macomb County's resolution included the more unusual call for action from the Michigan Republican Party in the form of an "emergency session" of the state committee. The county's resolution also encouraged other county parties to pass similar resolutions.

Macomb County is Michigan's third largest county by population, and it's the largest county in the state that voted for Trump in 2020. He won there 53%-45%.

"Macomb County, Michigan, is the home of Trump Republicans," the Feb. 11 resolution approved by the county party's executive committee said.

According to the resolution, the county party "unequivocally condemns" the actions of Meijer and Upton in voting to impeach Trump. A copy of the resolution was sent to Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser and his co-chairwoman, Meshawn Maddock, according to the document.

A spokesman for the state party couldn't immediately be reached for a comment.

Macomb County Republican Lisa Mankiewicz of Shelby Township, right, is pictured in August 2019. Mankiewicz voted with other county GOP executive committee members to ask the Michigan Republican Party to censure two congressmen for impeaching President Donald Trump.

As of Monday, Mankiewicz and Macomb County GOP Chairman Mark Forton said the county party was waiting to hear back from Michigan Republican Party on the resolution.

The concept of Republican lawmakers voting to impeach a Republican president who was leaving office is "completely insane," Forton contended.

"We want them gone," Forton said of Meijer and Upton. "They are not Republicans."

Former U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, who left the Republican Party in December and represented a portion of Macomb County in the U.S. House, said he would have voted to impeach Trump, like Meijer and Upton did. His replacement in Congress, U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, voted to reject impeachment.

 “Why would Upton and Meijer give a damn what the Macomb County party has to say about it?” Mitchell said of the county party's resolution.

Staff Writer Melissa Nann Burke contributed.