Former Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) made a name for himself as a freshman congressman in 2021 with his icy comments on Donald Trump, but with his new Senate bid, he appears to be warming to the former president.
Meijer, whose family owns the Midwestern chain of supermarkets, announced earlier this month that he would be running to fill the seat Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is planning to leave behind.
He told Politico Monday that he would support whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination — a title that Trump appears to have on lock.
That’s despite telling the same outlet just last year that he had “no idea” how he would support Trump in 2024. Meijer also voted to support Trump’s second impeachment during his first few weeks representing Western Michiganders in the House, saying around the same time that he considered Trump “unfit for office.”
Asked who changed — himself or Trump — Meijer told Politico, “It’s something that I’ve grappled with.”
A primary challenger trounced Meijer last year, although both lost to Democrat Hillary Scholten.
“I would say one of the things that’s really changed between then and now is my frustration at the cynical calculation that I’ve seen on the Democratic side,” Meijer told Politico, appearing to take issue with the various civil and criminal charges lodged against the former president.
“My overarching goal is to make Joe Biden a one-term president,” he went on. “I think that economic damage that he has wrought and will continue to bring will have far more wide-reaching negative consequences on the country than a second non-consecutive Trump administration.”
“And frankly, if Donald Trump is returned to the Oval Office, there would probably be few better motivators to rein in executive power,” he added, noting that he considered the office of the presidency “the most dangerous institution in the country today.”
Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a prominent Republican critic of Trump, reacted with disbelief to the abrupt change in tune.
″Peter Meijer ... I can’t explain. He gained a place in history and then blew it,” Kinzinger wrote.
Jeff Timmer, a former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party turned Never Trump activist, said Meijer’s behavior was “weak” and “craven.”