Republican Rep Peter Meijer said he had no regrets about voting to impeach former President Donald Trump days after he was defeated for re-nomination in his congressional primary in Michigan.
“I would rather lose office with my character intact than stay reelected having made sacrifices of the soul,” Mr Meijer said on the Sirius XM programme Julie Mason Mornings.
Mr Meijer was one of just 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Mr Trump for incitement of insurrection following the January 6 Capitol riot. The House of Representatives impeached Mr Trump for a second time on 13 January of last year, a week following the riot, but the US Senate acquited him weeks later.
In the months since, Mr Trump has made it one of his political objectives to end the careers of the congressional Republicans who broke ranks to vote for his removal. In some races, like two in Washington state on Tuesday night, he’s been unsuccessful.
In others, like Mr Meijer’s, voters have granted the former president his wish. Mr Meijer, who was first elected to Congress to represent a district centred on Grand Rapids in western Michigan in 2020, faced a challenge from far-right former Trump administration official John Gibbs.
In addition to Mr Trump’s endorsement, Mr Gibbs also got an assist from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which purchased advertisements in the final days of the race to boost his profile in the belief that he would make a weaker general election candidate than Mr Meijer.
In the end, by a narrow margin, the DCCC got what it wanted: Mr Gibbs defeated Mr Meijer by a margin of fewer than 4,000 votes. Mr Gibbs will now face Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten in a general election matchup that the Cook Political Report believes Ms Scholten is a slight favourite to win.
Mr Meijer’s political career, for now, is over. In the appearance on Sirius XM, he praised a select number of his Republican colleagues for their willingness to sacrifice their political fortunes to do what is right.
“It’s certainly been a chaotic period and a period where I’ve seen the importance of leadership and the importance of people willing to say this is wrong, but also the heavy political cost that that carries,” Mr Meijer said. “I’m proud of some of my colleagues who have been willing to fall on their swords rather than find ways of excusing or find ways of rationalizing the unacceptable or ignoring the glaring problems that are staring us in the face.”
Nevertheless, Mr Meijer’s commitment to his principles may only go so far. On Wednesday, following his primary defeat, Mr Meijer introduced and congratulated Mr Gibbs as a Republican unity event and wished him the “best of luck” in the coming election.