The Michigan Republican Party's new chairman, in office less than two months, says he regrets insulting the state's top three officeholders and speaking flippantly about the deaths of two congressmen.
"In an increasingly vitriolic political environment, we should all do better to treat each other with respect, myself included. I fell short of that the other night," Ron Weiser says in a weekend statement quoted by news outlets.
That misstep came Thursday night at a political event in Clarkston, where he derided the governor, attorney general and secretary of state as "those three witches" and said there are only two ways to unseat moderate Republican Reps. Fred Upton and Peter Meijer: "Other than assassination, I have no other way than voting them out."
In his concession of over-reaching, Weiser says Saturday:
"I apologize to those I offended for the flippant analogy about three women who are elected officials and for the off-hand comments about two other leaders. I have never advocated for violence and never will.
"While I will always fight for the people and policies I believe in, I pledge to be part of a respectful political dialogue going forward."
Original article, Saturday morning:
Heck no, I won't go.
We paraphrase, but that's how U-M board member Ron Weiser responds to calls for his resignation for provocative comments as state Republican chair. Three fellow Regents are among those saying he should leave.
"I will not be resigning from the University of Michigan," Weiser vows on Twitter.
Remarks that spark the outrcry were made Thursday night to North Oakland Republican Club members and reported Friday by The Detroit News, which posted a video. He called called Michigan's three highest elected officials witches and used the word assassination when asked how Republicans could unseat Reps. Peter Meijer and Fred Upton, GOP congressman who voted in January to impeach Donald Trump.
In response, three U-M regents who are Democrats -- Mark Bernstein, Michael Behm and Jordan Acker -- said Weiser doesn't belong on the governing board, the Lansing State Journal and others report.
"This language and behavior is incompatible with service to the University of Michigan," tweets Acker, a Southfield law firm partner.
Ron Weiser's reckless and dangerous language does not reflect the values of our Board and our Institution. Comments about removal by "assassination" are a literal attack on our Democracy, and are incredibly dangerous in light of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol (1/3)— Jordan Acker (@JordanAckerMI) March 26, 2021
That pressure and other blasts led Weiser to tweet Friday evening: "I made some comments that are clearly being taken out of context. While I should have chosen my words more carefully, anyone who knows me understands I would never advocate for violence."
hard-working Michiganders to this day. I will not be resigning from the University of Michigan, and our focus at the Michigan Republican Party remains the same—winning in 2022. (3/3)— Ron Weiser (@RonaldWeiser) March 26, 2021
He doesn't address this swipe, also voiced Thursday at the Deer Lake Athletic Club and Banquet Center in Clarkston: "Our job now is to soften up those three witches and make sure that when we have good candidates to run against them, that they are ready for the burning at the stake."
The trio he targets -- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson -- mock the partisan insult.
Benson jokes that a "Wizard of Oz" witch photo may become her Twitter avatar. In a social media selfie (left), Whitmer shows herself holding a 2019 book, "The Witches Are Coming," that critiques misogyny.
And Nessel tweets: "Witches who magically decrease Covid spread, increase voter turnout and hold sexual predators accountable without any help from the legislature? Sign me up for that coven."
Who says politics is dull?