Chasing 'their own tails': Outgoing GOP lawmaker on how Republicans will continue to lose
Congressman Peter Meijer speaking with attendees at the American Conservation Coalition's 2022 Summit. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

An outgoing Republican lawmaker blasted his own party on the way out of office.

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) served only one term in Congress, but he lost a GOP primary challenge after casting one of his first votes in favor of impeaching Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection, and he told Politico that he could not support the former president in the 2024 campaign.

"I want someone to demonstrate a track record of being able to win," Meijer said. "Hillary Clinton was probably the worst Democratic nominee of my lifetime. If he was outlining a positive agenda and speaking of the things that were started and hoping to be completed, if his message was about pointing the country in a better direction, it would be very different than what we have right now, which is just like the pettiest of petty grievances. I think he had a very negative impact on both candidate selection in terms of endorsements, but also just the amount of quality candidates in competitive seats. I think there’s a constructive role that he could be playing, and I have yet to see him make an effort, so to hell with it."

Meijer lost his primary election to right-wing conspiracy theorist John Gibbs, who then lost the general election to Democrat Hillary Scholten, and he said that dynamic was harmful to the GOP's long-term prospects.

READ: How Democrats won the West

"My frustration is [conspiracy theories] lead folks on the right to go down these rabbit holes and chase their own tails," Meijer said. "Meanwhile, some of the really serious, severe things that are critical for us to get ready for the future of the country: competing with China, dealing with our deficit, dealing with entitlement reforms. These are not easy things that we can like, manage in bite-sized chunks."

"So much of the energy is ultimately expended down avenues that are just hamster wheels," he added. "I think that gives Democrats a tangible advantage. We saw that electorally, when they can at least pretend to be speaking to issues and not seem crazy, even if they are unwilling to change their policy outcomes that are not making those issues better. At least rhetorically, they seem to be coming from a more reality-grounded place."

ALSO IN THE NEWS: 'We all look like domestic terrorists now': Hope Hicks raged at Trump after J6 riot