By: - October 15, 2020 12:15 pm

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference | Andrew Roth

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) was elected in 2016 when now-President Donald Trump won Michigan. And now Bergman has the highest loyalty rating for Trump of Michigan’s GOP congressional members in an index developed by national political outlet Axios.

The “Trump Loyalty Index” for Republicans in Congress measures both voting loyalty, based on FiveThirtyEight data, and whether members said anything critical on the record during seven of Trump’s biggest crises: his “Access Hollywood” recording, the initial travel ban on Muslim-majority nations, his comments on the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, his “shithole countries” remark, the “go back” tweet about the four progressive women known as “The Squad”, his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and his Bible photo op.

Bergman earned an 82 on the index and boasts a 97% voting record with Trump. Bergman was not in office during the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, so he was not rated on it.

He’s followed by U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland), whose rating is 75 and voting record with Trump is 97%. U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) is at 71 and 98%, respectively, followed by U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) at 63 and 97% and retiring U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) at 60 and 96%. Mitchell also wasn’t in office during the “Access Hollywood” story.

The only Michigan Republican to fall below 50 in the index was U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), who’s facing state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) in a targeted race. Upton scored 41 on the index and has an 81% Trump voting record.

The report said that Republicans who haven’t shown their loyalty to Trump since 2016 are more likely to be in competitive reelections.

Axios said that Republicans have become less likely to criticize Trump since 2016, when 42% of the 178 Republicans who have been in office since Trump’s candidacy criticized him during the “Access Hollywood” tape story.

But the news outlet said that in 2017, 19% of GOP members criticized Trump for his Charlottesville remarks. In 2018, 18% criticized him for his “shithole countries” remark. In 2019, 15% criticized him for his tweet for U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) to “go back” to where they came from. In 2020, 12% criticized him for the Bible photo op/clearing of peaceful protesters.

Axios reports there were 49 Republicans in Congress who didn’t support Trump or withdrew their support after “Access Hollywood.” Now, 24 of them are no longer in Congress and one, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Twp.), left the party.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.