A year ago Tuesday – on Jan. 4, 2021 – state Sen. Lana Theis signed a letter to members of Congress asking them to delay certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the electoral college. The letter claimed the public was outraged at Biden’s victory, and asked for an investigation into fraud in the election.
Two days later — on Jan. 6, 2021 — a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol chanting, “Hang Mike Pence,” and forcing lawmakers to run for their lives. Law enforcement officers protecting the Capitol engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the insurrectionists for hours. Some died and many others still bear the mental and physical scars of a battle some describe as worse than what they endured in Iraq.
The certification of the vote was halted, as Theis wanted, but only for a few hours. It resumed in the early morning hours, and Biden was declared the winner.
More than 700 people have been charged with crimes in connection with the insurrection — and more may come.
I have no doubt that the letter signed by Theis helped fuel the delusions of Trump supporters who believed the election was somehow rigged and the electoral vote count could be halted.
But even a year later, we are unclear about what led up to Theis signing that letter. We know from Bridge magazine that Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is under investigation by the House Jan. 6 committee for his communications with Trump prior to the insurrection, and that Shirkey and other Michigan lawmakers met with Trump in the White House; I wonder whether Theis was among them. I wonder, too, what her role was in the drafting of the letter demanding a halt in the constitutional process of certifying Biden’s victory.
And then there is the second letter she signed — asking for an investigation into the November 2020 election but NOT a halt in the certification. Why was the first letter withdrawn? Why did she post it on her Twitter feed and then withdraw it? Was it because signing it violated her oath of office pledging to support and defend the Constitution?
The people deserve answers, because the events of Jan. 6 nearly destroyed our democracy. Next time, we may not be so lucky.