Less than two weeks after taking office, Republican Congresswoman Lisa McClain of Macomb County faced harsh criticism from her GOP predecessor, former congressman Paul Mitchell, for soft-pedaling President Trump’s role in inciting last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In her first House address, McClain earlier today compared Trump’s remarks just prior to the deadly insurrection to previous comments by congressional Democrats.
“This speech reflects false equivalencies,” Mitchell said on Twitter following the McClain speech. “Yes — some Dem politicians have said things that are beyond the pale of decency and respect for our nation. But — that does not justify POTUS inciting a riot — storming the Capitol. That is what he did — plain and simple.”
McClain was sworn into office on Jan. 3 and, three days later, she voted against the congressional certification of the November presidential election, when Joe Biden officially defeated Trump. The Bruce Township Republican, who has never previously held office, represents northern Macomb County and the Thumb Area.
On Twitter, reporter Jackie Smith of the Port Huron Times Herald pointed out that McClain’s House speech called for “a peaceful transition of power” and admitted “words have consequences,” seemingly ending a sidestep of associating the Capitol attack with Trump. But she also namelessly called out peers’ statements.
Mitchell announced his intention to retire from Congress in July 2019, just 2 ½ years after winning the 10th District House seat that was vacated by Candice Miller. Since making that surprise announcement, he has demonstrated much more moderate political tendencies and has emerged as a Trump critic among House Republicans.
In a Dec. 15 interview with CNN, Mitchell said that his disgust and disappointment with Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the November election led him to request that the Clerk of the House change his party affiliation to “independent,” and to notify GOP leaders in a letter that he was withdrawing his “engagement and association with the Republican Party at both the national and state level.”
In contrast, McClain campaigned in 2020 for the upcoming 10th District vacancy as a staunch supporter of Trump.
Mitchell’s criticism of Trump echoed the remarks of Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3-ranking House Republican and the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, when she announced that this afternoon she will vote for Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday.
“The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack” she said. “Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the president…I will vote to impeach the president.”
Below is a video of McClain’s remarks on the House floor:
We all have the same name on our jersey which is United States of America. Why don’t we start acting like it and let our actions follow our words? All of us. pic.twitter.com/Bzg6oKK5us
— Representative Lisa McClain (@RepLisaMcClain) January 13, 2021
UPDATE: The quotes from unnamed Democrats used by McClain were comments made three years ago in reference to the Trump administration’s child separations at the Southern border, not recent election controversies.
Malachi Barrett, political reporter for MLive, found that the “not welcome anymore” quote was a comment made in 2018 by Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters. McClain left this part out: “We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents,” Waters said.
On Twitter, Barrett also noted that the “uprisings” comment came from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the height of the family separations controversy in 2018. At the time, Pelosi said people like her, the grandmother of nine children, should be protesting across the nation.