Michigan Rep. removed from committees following Facebook comments “Make them pay”

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS)– Michigan house representative Cynthia A. Johnson was removed from her committee assignments today, following comments she made during a Facebook live post last night.

You can watch video on the Facebook post below.

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth today released the following statement on the video released last night by state Rep. Cynthia Johnson on social media: 

“Threats to either Democrats or Republicans are unacceptable and un-American. They’re even more unbecoming of an elected official. Rep. Johnson has been removed from her committee assignments, and we are looking into further disciplinary action as the proper authorities conduct their own investigations.  

“We have been consistent in our position on this – violence and intimidation is never appropriate in politics. We have said that about threats against Gov. Whitmer, Secretary Benson, Rep. Johnson herself, and others. That applies to threats made toward public officials, and it must also apply when the threats come from public officials. Behavior like this will not be tolerated this term or next.” 

Rep. Lee Chatfield, Michigan Speaker of the House & Rep. Jason Wentworth, Michigan Speaker of the House-Elect

Michigan State police tell 6 News, after reviewing the statements made by Johnson, they will not look further into the matter.

“MSP has reviewed the online statement made by Representative Johnson and find that it does not contain a direct threat against any specific individual. Therefore, it is our belief that it is not in the purview of law enforcement. “

 Lt. Brian Oleksyk, MSP First District PIO

The Michigan Republican party also issued a statement in response to the comments:

“I am incredibly disturbed by Representative Cynthia Johnson’s deranged Facebook rant. It is reprehensible that an elected official would call on her ‘soldiers’ to make the supporters of an opposing party ‘pay’, and clearly, such a statement could incite people to violence.”

“It was distressing to know that Representative Johnson received threats after last week’s hearing, however by issuing threats of violence of her own against the supporters of President Trump she has sunk to the same level as the unhinged individuals who threatened her. I call on Governor Whitmer and Michigan Democrats to condemn Representative Johnson’s statement immediately.”

Laura Cox, Michigan Republican Party Chairman

Johnson has not responded to to her removal from committee assignements, or the response by the Michigan Republican Party.

Michigan’s House democratic leader Christine Greig also issued a statement claiming Speaker Chatfield’s decision to remove Johnson from her committee assignments partisan politics:

“There is no doubt that this election cycle has been rife with hyperpartisan political rhetoric, theatrics and dangerous threats of violence toward elected and public officials and their loved ones which continue to escalate amid the most significant public health crisis in our state and country.

“As widely reported in the media, Representative Johnson has received numerous racist and heinous threats of violence — as have other Democratic and Republican elected officials — that have continued to place the safety of her and her loved ones in jeopardy. It is regrettable that her comments have led to the unintended consequence of adding further tension. It’s incumbent upon every elected official to be mindful of the impact of our words, especially in a moment of national tension and crisis.

“Our caucus has called on the Republican leadership and the present Legislature repeatedly to set aside hyperpartisan rhetoric, stop coddling conspiracy theories and condemn threats of violence. Even today, Speaker Chatfield’s decision to summarily remove Representative Johnson from her committee assignments in the final days of the 100thLegislature, and the overheated language of the statement issued by Speaker Chatfield and Speaker-elect Wentworth, illustrates that the Republicans prioritize partisan politics and political theater over healing the wounds of division, preserving the well-being of the Legislature as an institution, protecting the safety of Members, and acting on the needs of the people of Michigan.

“The perpetuation of meritless and disingenuous claims of election fraud — without the production of any evidence weeks after the general election — continues to fuel an increasingly dangerous and destructive political environment that needlessly removes focus on addressing the significant challenges of the pandemic as it continues to claim the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders across our state and throughout the political spectrum.

“There is no place for threats of violence or intimidation in our political discourse. We must end the divisive rhetoric, political theatrics and return civility in our political discourse so we may rightfully and immediately focus on our state’s response to the pandemic and help Michiganders who critically need our bipartisan leadership.

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