GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Just hours after the Barry County GOP censured him over his impeachment vote, U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, spoke with FOX 17’s Aaron Parseghian.
The Barry County GOP was the second county-level Republican party in Meijer's district to censure him.
“I still want to continue to maintain strong relationships with our county-level parties and with all of the folks who are active,” Meijer said. "Now, at the end of the day, we're not going to see eye to eye on everything."
The freshman congressman was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump after the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Meijer has faced backlash because of his vote but stands by it. “One of the saddest things to me is realizing that could have been much, much worse,” Meijer said about the attack. "[It] could have been a very dark, and even darker day for this nation. I'm continually grateful for the law enforcement who put their lives on the line."
The Senate vote that led to Trump’s acquittal Saturday shows the evident division in the Republican Party moving forward.
Meijer believes Trump still has a strong influence over the GOP. “There's absolutely a strong influence," he said. "I think if you watch Sen. Mitch McConnell's remarks, while he voted to acquit -- and there's, I can't even count the number of kind of procedural excuses -- but you'll notice a really deafening silence of folks who are standing up in defense, rather than trying to just say, Let's move on.”
“I think it speaks volumes to at least a tacit acknowledgment of where the responsibility for what happened on January 6, where some of that lies,” Meijer added.
With the impeachment now largely in the rear-view mirror, Meijer says the legislative focus should be on COVID relief but says Republicans have been largely left out of discussions.
“We're working right now to try to separate the things that that people need today,” Meijer explained. "That's direct cash relief and money for vaccines testing and PPE. There is very little disagreement on either side of the aisle about that."
“We want to pass that as a standalone rather than trying to bundle into a $15 minimum wage, and you know some large bailouts of blue states and large cities.”
Over the past week, Meijer has been making stops around Michigan's 3rd Congressional District.
It was a pleasure to tour @WesternMichU new aviation school facility at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Field today. They are paving a great path in aviation training and a true asset to #MI03! https://t.co/CO2TorV8lc pic.twitter.com/ZRufDXGram— Rep. Peter Meijer (@RepMeijer) February 13, 2021
His district travels took him to DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids Tuesday to see firsthand what’s needed to boost the vaccination effort. Meijer toured the facility alongside Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“The simple answer is we need more vaccines,” Meijer said. "We're at about 11 million doses between Moderna and Pfizer a week. We're hopeful that the Johnson & Johnson has authorization from the FDA by the end of the month. We're praying that that's the case because that's going to allow us to go from 11 million doses per week nationally to much much higher and be able to ramp up production rapidly, and that's what we need."
“We have capacity here at DeVos Place for 30,000 40,000 vaccinations a day, and on a weekly average, it's a fraction of that being delivered.”