Impeachment-backing Republican says he was advised to say 2020 election was stolen even if he didn't believe it
Congressman Peter Meijer speaking with attendees at the American Conservation Coalition's 2022 Summit. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

In a new analysis published by The New York Times on Wednesday of the state of the Republican Party after the primary loss of top Trump critic Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) told the paper that he was intensely pressured by his party to claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — even if he didn't believe it.

“'Policy is not policy toward improving government," Meijer told the newspaper. "It’s policy as a signifier of whether you’re part of the in group or the out group."

The Michigan Republican went on to say that he was now squarely in the "out group" for refusing to back Trump's false claims about the 2020 election.

"I can’t tell you the number of times somebody said, ‘You don’t have to believe the election is stolen, the important thing isn’t believing it, it’s saying it,’” said Meijer. “That is what a Republican is supposed to do right now.”

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Meijer, like Cheney, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for incitement of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He lost his primary earlier this year, as have nearly all of his colleagues who joined him.

"Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State, another Republican vote for impeachment, was ousted by a Trump supporter," noted the report. "A Trump-backed candidate, Tim Michels, who has entertained trying to overturn the 2020 election, won the Republican nomination for governor of Wisconsin. And Mr. Trump’s preferred candidates swept the nominations in Arizona for Senate, governor, attorney general and secretary of state. All embraced his election denialism. Even in Connecticut, a state that once defined a more genteel and moderate brand of Republicanism, Mr. Trump’s choice for Senate upset the local party’s candidate."

No evidence has ever materialized for Trump and his allies' claim that the 2020 election was stolen, although some right-wing activists have tried to push debunked arguments in court and even a pseudo-documentary on the subject.