State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) did not mince words Wednesday morning when it came to recent conspiratorial remarks about the 2020 election from Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake).
“The earth is round. The moon landing is real. Nine-eleven happened. And on Jan. 6 of this year, a violent insurrection against America happened, and the words, actions and money of former President [Donald] Trump fueled it. And you know dead people didn’t vote,” Ananich said during Wednesday’s session, referring to Shirkey’s baseless claim Monday that Michigan’s election system was “too loose” and allowed “ too many dead people” to vote.
That claim has been debunked many times over by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and other election officials.
“Every politician knows the election was safe and secure. These are truths, period,” Ananich said. “We’ve now gone through what I call the ‘stages of the [SML]’ again: Make it make an offensive comment, apologize. take the apology back, justify your actions, and then play the victim card. We’ve done all of that. Can we now please move on to the important work that needs to be done?
“As I used to tell my middle school students, the world doesn’t revolve around you. But the fortunes of 10 million people do. We’ve now focused on you instead of them for another week,” added Ananich, a former teacher.
He urged Shirkey to focus instead on passing another supplemental plan to help those facing hard times during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to work together with his Democratic colleagues if Shirkey doesn’t like Gov. Gretchen Whimter’s plan.
“Stop holding hostage federal money that’s intended to help people. And for the love of God, please stop talking into this,” Ananich said, gesturing to the microphone. “I think that will help all of us.”
Shirkey was sharply criticized by many officials and groups last week — though not by his Republican colleagues — after a leaked video was released of him making sexist comments about Whitmer and making unfounded claims about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.