WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Representative Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, was inside the Capitol when violent insurgents laid siege last Wednesday.
He was huddled with colleagues amid the chaos when he saw the now-removed video posted by President Donald Trump on Twitter, in which the President told those same rioters they were “very special.”
“I saw that when we were still sheltered, didn't know what was going on, had no idea what was safe while we knew that there were folks ransacking the Capitol,” Congressman Meijer told FOX 17 Monday. "To me that was deeply disqualifying and left him rankly unfit for the office."
“We knew at least one person had already been killed, we didn't know about the additional fatalities."
“I do think the best course of action would be [for Trump] to resign,” Meijer added.
The freshman GOP Congressman is strongly considering impeachment as well, with the House expected to vote later this week.
“When it comes to impeachment, it's something we're strongly considering at this point. There are timelines and other considerations and additional information that I want to have before making that decision affirmatively,” Meijer said.
Rep. Meijer says many Republican politicians including Trump bear responsibility for spreading lies about the election that incited the violence seen at the Capitol.
Yesterday’s assault on the Capitol didn’t have to happen. Politicians who spread the lies that incited this violence bear responsibility. Politicians who continue to lie in order to shift blame and falsely claim this was Antifa or BLM, are contemptible. More thoughts: pic.twitter.com/ZbMPfPXEi5— Rep. Peter Meijer (@RepMeijer) January 7, 2021
“Let me say, I should have spoken out earlier," Meijer noted. "I was out in front several days in advance and had been discussing with colleagues that there was no constitutional merit to it.”
“I think we all had hoped that what was rhetoric wouldn't turn into reality, and sadly we were naive in that. Obviously, that's not language that I trafficked in, but I think we saw the consequences of that."
Meijer did not object to the Electoral College certification later that night and never planned to but says fear played a role in how at least one of his colleagues voted.
“I have a number of colleagues who have experienced death threats. Some currently have armed protection, some of them accosted on the street or at an airport where it's our expectation is that there are folks who will try to kill us."
“Things that we could have dismissed out of hand as maybe a hoax or overblown, after we saw the Capitol fall for the first time in over 200 years, you can't dismiss that anymore," Meijer said. "I think it is reasonable to expect that we may see more violence."
“Right now, we have to grapple with really serious constitutional issues that have been presented to us in the wake of the violence on January 6,” Meijer said.
That's not what Rep. Meijer was expecting when he took office just days ago. He said he would rather focus on improving the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.