Though former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has ended, difficult conversations and divided politics have not, particularly among conservative leaders. The Cass County Republican Party has again censured Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R-06), this time for his vote to remove conspiracy theorist and Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments.
Cass County GOP leaders — along with those in Allegan and Berrien counties — previously censured Upton in response to the congressman’s vote to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
But Upton says he stands by his votes.
After Cass County Republicans censured him for a second time, Upton reinforced his decision on Twitter. In a four-part thread, he cited Greene’s harassment of students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, as well as her promotion of a variety of unfounded conspiracy theories, as reasons for his vote.
“She should not be on the education committee, and Congress was right to remove her, period,” he said in the post.
Upton told Stateside that when he served on the education committee in the 1990s, he heard stories from survivors of the Columbine High School massacre, and he has also spoken with survivors and family members of students killed in the Parkland shooting.
“[Greene] actually accosted this young man who was talking about gun safety and school safety when he was here in Washington, and she chased him. It was on video. She even reminded him that she had a concealed weapon permit and, I think, had a gun on her at the same time,” Upton said. “You don't do that. That's just wrong.”
Upton says he doesn’t have any second thoughts about his vote to strip Greene of her committee assignments. She was removed from the House Education and Labor Committee, as well as the budget panel, after a 230-199 vote.
Upton says the Cass County Republican Party’s decision to censure him was unfortunate, adding that he didn’t have advance notice about the issue.
“Common-sense gun legislation is important,” he said. “I would have been glad to talk about that before my folks in Cass County. But again, we didn't have the opportunity. We learned about it after the fact.”
Censuring is a public, but primarily symbolic, rebuke. Other GOP leaders, both here in Michigan and throughout the country, have received criticism from local Republican parties due to their stances on recent issues that divide conservative voters. For instance, Republican leaders in Calhoun County and Barry County censured new Congressman Peter Meijer (R-03) for his vote to impeach President Trump.
Upton says he wasn’t in the House Chamber at the time of the January 6 riot, but he could see the crowd from his office across the street, and he called the day a “very scary” one.
“I watched firsthand as folks walked down the Ellipse and then came back,” he said. “You could hear the violence, you could smell the tear gas, you heard the flash bangs.”
Upton says that based on what he saw, as well as evidence presented in Congress during the impeachment trial, he felt that Trump played a role in inciting the insurgents who stormed the Capitol.
“My job is to tell the truth,” said Upton. “And, you know, from this point on, I'm looking through the windshield, not in the rear mirror. There's a lot of work that we have to do.”
This post was written by Stateside production assistant Nell Ovitt.