March 23, 2023

The following is a transcript of an interview with Michigan Republican Rep. Peter Mayer on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, August 7, 2022.

Margaret Brennan: Rep. Peter Mayer of Michigan was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump following the attack on the Capitol. He lost a primary race against a Trump-sanctioned challenger last Tuesday. Congressman Major was with us this morning from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Good morning, Congressman. The man who won the primary was an election denier named John Gibbs, who had the backing of former President Trump. Why do you think Michigan Republicans prefer him?

represent. Peter Major: Good morning, Margaret. As you said, I lost my primary, it’s up to me. I am responsible for this. But it’s important to note that it’s not just former President Trump who is in the race, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is putting in about $500,000 in its first spending in the 2022 midterms to help boost him. So we had a situation where not only did I get the former president to ally with me, but in a rare display of bipartisan unity, Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Campaign Committee joined forces to try and remove me from the ballot. Now, that just highlights the cynicism and hypocrisy of our politics today. Frankly, what the ultimate impact will be is unknown, but the fact that we have a common cause on the left and the far right paints a picture of where our politics will be in 2022.

MARGARET BRENNAN” Yes, you’re talking about an ad in which the Democratic Congressional Committee’s campaign spent $325,000 to boost Mr. Gibbs, almost as much as Gibbs spent on the entire campaign. This is you That’s what our viewers are seeing there. But do you think that ad really had an impact? I mean Democrats didn’t vote in this primary, they were Republicans, why did Michigan’s Will Republicans love this ad?

represent. Major: Well, you know, of course, I think there’s a clear proxy issue here, and at the end of the day, Republican voters are going to vote as they see fit. I should point out that the goal of this ad is not — it’s not on MSNBC or where it’s likely to be seen by Democratic voters, its goal is to try to influence and convince Republican primary voters to try and give my primary challenger a shot Another boost. I should add that my failure rate is about 3% and out of over 100,000 votes we lost less than 4,000 votes, which I think is important to keep in mind when you have a very close election like this. Clearly competing with very strong headwinds, having a Trump-sanctioned challenger in a party where President Trump still has more than 75% support. This is a message that focuses on the substance of what I can do in the office. I am proud that our office is on track to set the record for the most bills signed into law by a new person, achievements that are lost in our current politics of personality, and in a broader sense. I think that’s one of the fundamental challenges we face as a state, and it’s frankly frustrating for families in Michigan. We’re dealing with politics that doesn’t reward, you know, materialistic reality.

Margaret Brennan: Does that mean—

represent. MEIJER: The most important thing is rhetoric and personality.

Margaret Brennan: Do you think the Democrats will get what they pay for here? correct? I mean, they bet it would be easier to beat. Mr. Gibbs is better than you. Is your district heading for the Democrats?

represent. Major: It’s important to note that this is a district that President Biden won by about 9 points in 2020, and I’m one of five Republicans running for re-election in the district that President Biden won in the 2020 election. win by 8 points or more. So while I think there’s definitely a cynical calculation in the Democratic intervention, it’s a risky tactic. This is a dangerous strategy. President Biden is so outdated in his approval that it’s hard to see this strategy — it’s easy to see it backfire in surprising ways, and that’s one more reason why we shouldn’t accept zero — political ideology sum. We shouldn’t accept this — the notion that if we can keep the problem going, let it get worse, but get a marginal advantage in the process, that’s sort of tantamount to victory. I think it’s a dark and cynical way of looking at our politics, and frankly 48% of primary voters rejected it. They object to the cynical attitude that they focus on people who are trying to get results.

Margaret Brennan: Your Republican colleague Liz Cheney will face the primary in her state on August 16, and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, posted this video.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney (SOT): “Never in our nation’s 246-year history has a single person posed a greater threat to our Republic than Donald Trump. He has tried to use lies and violence to steal He’s a coward to have an election to hold his own, he’s a coward.”

Margaret Brennan: Is Mr. Cheney there because 57 percent of Republicans told CBS News they are more likely to vote for a candidate who has the backing of the former president. A former president, a Republican leader, or the greatest threat to our nation’s republic?

represent. Major: Well, I certainly think President Trump wants to keep those numbers. He wants that level of influence, and I mentioned earlier the common cause between the extreme right and left extremists. Nancy Pelosi, I think she wakes up every day praying for Donald Trump to run in 2024, he announced it before the midterm elections, because now, the midterm elections are going to be a huge challenge to President Biden and Speaker Pelosi And a referendum led by many of my family’s Democratic colleagues doesn’t want that. They wanted it to be a referendum on ex-President Trump, and I think ex-President Trump wanted that too.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’re going to focus on the primaries. Congressman, thank you for joining us today. We’ll be right back.

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