Advance Notice: Briefs

Trump endorses Detmer, says Sen. Theis ‘forgot she’s a Republican’

By: - November 16, 2021 2:09 pm

Sen. Lana Theis, Oct. 26, 2021 | Screenshot

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Republican real estate manager Mike Detmer in his bid to challenge incumbent state Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) for her seat in 2022.

Detmer lost the August 2020 GOP primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) in the 8th Congressional District. Slotkin won reelection in November 2020. However, Trump claimed Detmer “performed very well” last year.

Mike Detmer

“Theis is being challenged by an America First Patriot, Mike Detmer. Mike ran a tough campaign in 2020 for Congress, and performed very well. He’s running for the Michigan Senate, where he is sorely needed,” Trump said in a press release Monday.

“… Theis forgot she’s a Republican, but Mike Detmer is an America First fighter who will do great things for Michigan,” Trump added in the release that was heavily critical of Theis and her Republican colleagues in the Michigan Senate.

In April 2020, Detmer posted a photo with members of the Proud Boys, a self-described western chauvinist group, and wrote a Facebook post defending the organization. Despite emphasizing that he and his campaign are not associated with the group, Detmer argued that the Proud Boys aim to protect American freedoms and should not be labeled as a racist hate group.

After George Floyd, an African American man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, Detmer appeared at a right-wing rally at the Michigan Capitol in June 2020.

“I want to just address this whole race nonsense. It is fake; it is fake,” Detmer said to the crowd. “Here’s the reality: If you are someone of faith, you understand that all lives matter, and it was decided by the blood of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.”

Theis has sponsored legislation banning “critical race theory” in schools, even though it is not taught at the K-12 level. But national right-wing groups have been organizing around the issue all across the country.

Trump’s lengthy endorsement also leaned on his false, much-repeated claim that widespread voter fraud contributed to his loss to President Joe Biden in 2020, slamming Michigan state senators for selling out by refusing a so-called “forensic audit” like the one conducted by Trump’s allies in Arizona.

According to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office, more than 250 state and local audits have confirmed the accuracy and integrity of Michigan’s election, and none have come up with any evidence of widespread voter fraud. 

Nonetheless, Trump falsely claimed in the Detmer endorsement that Benson “sent out illegal mailings” while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doled out millions to set up “vote fraud boxes” in Detroit — neither of which are true.

Trump also called state Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) a “loser,” as he has done before, for releasing a 35-page report in June that debunked claims of widespread voter fraud in Michigan.

Theis is the vice chair of the Senate Oversight Committee that McBroom chairs. McBroom released the report during a committee hearing.

“Senator Lana Theis was McBroom’s deputy for his trash report and agreed with everything McBroom did. Lana Theis refuses to support a Forensic Audit and refuses to admit there was pervasive Voter Fraud in the 2020 Election,” Trump wrote Monday.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.