February 7, 2023

Below is the transcript of an interview with Republican Representative Peter Major of Michigan that aired Sunday, August 7, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”

Margaret Brennan: Michigan Congressman Peter Major is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump in the wake of the attack on the Capitol. Last Tuesday, he lost his first race to a rival that Trump endorsed. Congressman Major is with us this morning from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Good morning Congressman. The person who won that primaries is an election denier named John Gibbs, who is backed by former President Trump. Why do you think Michigan Republicans prefer him?

re \ come back. Peter Major: Well, good morning, Margaret. Like I said, I lost primary and that’s on me. I take responsibility for that. But it’s important to note that it wasn’t just former President Trump, who was in this race, there was about half a million dollars the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent in its first midterm spending of 2022 to help bolster it. So we had a scenario where not only was the former president biased against me, but in a rare display of bipartisan unity, Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Campaign Committee also united to try to get me out of the ballot. Now, this only highlights the irony and hypocrisy in our politics today. And frankly, it would be unknown what that ultimate effect was, but the fact that we have the establishment left and right-wing extremists locking arms in a common cause paints a very telling picture of where our politics are in 2022.

Margaret Brennan “Well, what you’re talking about there is an ad that the Democratic Congressional Committee campaigns spent $325,000 to promote Mr. Gibbs, which is roughly what Gibbs spent on his entire campaign. That’s what you’re implying, that’s what viewers are looking at there. But Do you think this announcement really made a difference?I mean Democrats don’t vote in these primaries, they’re Republicans, why did Michigan Republicans sign this announcement?

re \ come back. Major: Well, you know, I think there’s an obvious question about efficacy here, of course, and at the end of the day, Republican voters are going to cast their votes as they see fit. I should point out that this ad was not targeted – it wasn’t running on MSNBC, it wasn’t running where Democratic voters might see it, and it was targeted in places to try to sway and persuade Republican primary voters to try to give my defiant primaries Push up and over again. And I must add that my defeat was about 3%, out of the 100,000+ votes cast, we lost by less than 4,000, and I think it’s important to remember, when you have an election very close like this. And he’s clearly competing against very strong headwinds, with a pro-Trump rival in a party President Trump still has more than 75% approval. This is a letter that focuses on the gist of what I have been able to achieve in the position. I am proud that our office is on track to set a record for the largest number of bills signed by a new law student, such that these accomplishments are lost in our current personal politics, lost in a broader sense. And I think that’s one of the primary challenges we face as a state, and that, frankly, frustrates Michigan families. We’re dealing with a politics that doesn’t reward substance that doesn’t reward, you know, reality.

Margaret Brennan: But does that mean–

re \ come back. Major: This focuses on rhetoric and personality above all else.

Margaret Brennan: Do you think the Democrats are going to get what they paid for here? right? I mean, they are betting that it will be easier to defeat them. Mr. Gibbs from you. Is your district going to democrat?

re \ come back. Major: It’s important to note that this is an area where President Biden won in 2020 by nearly nine points, and I was one of five Republicans running for reelection in seats where — President Biden won the 2020 election by eight points or more. And so while I think there has certainly been cynical calculus with Democrats getting involved, this is a risky strategy. It’s a dangerous strategy. When President Biden’s approval is at rock bottom, it’s hard to see that strategy — it’s easy to see this strategy backfiring in an amazing way, which is all the more reason we shouldn’t embrace the zero-sum policy idea. We shouldn’t embrace this — this idea that if we can keep a problem alive, we keep it festering, but we’re able to gain a marginal advantage in the process, that somehow means a victory. I think it’s a dark and cynical way of looking at our politics, and frankly, 48% of the primary voters here rejected it. They stood against such disdain that they were focusing on someone who was working to achieve results.

Margaret Brennan: Your fellow Republican Liz Cheney is about to face August 16 in her state, former Vice President Dick Cheney, her father, posted this video.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney (SOT): “In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who posed a greater threat to our Republic than Donald Trump. He attempted to steal the last election using lies and violence to maintain himself in power after being rejected by voters. He’s a coward. A real man doesn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know that. He knows it. And I think most Republicans know that deep down…”

Margaret Brennan: Is Mr. Cheney there because 57% of Republicans, told CBS News, are more likely to vote for a candidate who gets endorsement from the former president. Is the former president the leader of the Republican Party or the greatest threat to the republic of our country?

re \ come back. Major: Well, I definitely think President Trump wants to keep those numbers high. He wants this degree of influence, and I mentioned earlier the common cause between the extremists on the right and the institutional left. Nancy Pelosi, I think she gets up every day crossing her fingers for Donald Trump in 2024, and he’s announcing it long before the midterms, because right now, the midterms are set to be a referendum on President Biden’s leadership and Speaker Pelosi and many others My fellow Democrats in my house don’t want that. They want it to be a referendum on former President Trump and I think former President Trump wants that as well.

Margaret Brennan: Well, we’ll watch the primaries. And Congresswoman, thank you for joining us today. We’ll be right back.

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