Three days into his first term as a Republican congressman, Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, then just 33, pulled on a smoke hood and fled the Capitol as rioters invaded the House chamber on January 6. He later voted to certify the election results and ended up being one of nine Republicans to vote to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the insurrection. Since then, Meijer has suffered death threats, a Trump-endorsed primary challenge, and now the indignity of having Trump make fun of his last name at a political rally in his home state.
Last night, Trump appeared at a sports hall outside Detroit to promote the candidacy of a couple of low-level Republican candidates for state attorney general and secretary of state. As is often the case when he shows up to help another candidate, Trump spent most of the time talking about himself and insulting one of his enemies, in this case fellow Republican Meijer.
“A guy who spells his name ‘M-E-I-J-E-R’ but they pronounce it ‘MY-er,’” Trump said. “The hell kind of a spelling is that? ‘MY-er.’ I said, ‘How the hell do you pronounce this guy’s name?’”
“Nobody knows him,” Trump said of Meijer. “He’s done nothing in Washington. I said, ‘How do you pronounce his name? Is it ‘MAY-jer’? ‘MY-jer’? They said it’s ‘MY-er.’ How the hell do you get ‘MY-er’ out of it?”
Trump attacking Peter Meijer for the spelling of his last name pic.twitter.com/klNHboIKF8
— Acyn (@Acyn) April 3, 2022
While Trump may have thought he was making a great joke, people in Michigan may not have been so amused. The congressman’s last name is Dutch, and there’s a decent-sized Dutch American community in Western Michigan that tends to vote conservative Republican—a constituency Trump’s advisors apparently didn’t bother to brief him on. Meijer is also a household name in Michigan that adorns a beloved local chain of supermarkets that have, among other things, given away millions of dollars worth of free prescription drugs to treat diabetes and heart disease, as well as antibiotics and prenatal vitamins, the sort of meaningful philanthropy the Trump family has never even contemplated.