Michigan GOP chair apologizes after calling women leading state ‘witches’

Weiser said they should be 'ready for the burning at the stake'

Ron Weiser, Michigan Republican Party Chairman and member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, has issued an apology for his comments after he referred to the three highest-ranking female state leaders as “witches” who should be “ready for the burning at the stake.”

The comments were in reference to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. His statements come five months after 13 individuals were charged in a kidnapping plot against Whitmer, federal and state officials.

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On Saturday, Weiser released a statement of remorse, acknowledging that he “fell short,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“In an increasingly vitriolic political environment, we should all do better to treat each other with respect, myself included. I fell short of that the other night,” Weiser said in the statement.

“I apologize to those I offended for the flippant analogy about three women who are elected officials and for the off-hand comments about two other leaders. I have never advocated for violence and never will. While I will always fight for the people and policies I believe in, I pledge to be part of a respectful political dialogue going forward.” 

During a political event at the North Oakland Republican Club in Oakland County on Thursday, video footage posted to Facebook showed Weiser saying to a laughing crowd, “Our job is now to soften up those three witches and make sure that we have good candidates to run against them, that they are ready for the burning at the stake.”

The video also showed Weiser using the term “assassination” in response to a question about ousting fellow Michigan GOP lawmakers Reps. Peter Meijer and Fred Upton, who favored the impeachment of former President Donald Trump, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“Other than assassination, I have no other way other than voting them out, ok?”

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Jordan Acker, lawyer and University of Michigan Board of Regents Vice Chair, issued a statement on Twitter on Friday calling for Reiser’s resignation for his “sexist language” which he says “has no place on our campus.”

“Ron Weiser’s reckless and dangerous language does not reflect the values of our Board and our Institution. Comments about removal by ‘assassination’ are a literal attack on our Democracy, and are incredibly dangerous in light of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol,” Acker said in the thread of tweets.


He continued, “And the FBI-thwarted attacks on our Governor. Furthermore, sexist language referring to the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State as ‘witches’ has no place on our campus. This language and behavior is incompatible with service to the University of Michigan. Given that, the only appropriate thing for the University of Michigan is for Ron Weiser to resign.”


On Twitter, Weiser said in another statement that he “will not resign from the University of Michigan, and our focus at the Michigan Republican Party remains the same – winning in 2022.”

Gov. Whitmer responded to Weiser’s comments on Friday with a picture of herself holding Lindy West’s book “The Witches Are Coming,” with the comment, “Speaking of witches, I highly recommend this book! ‘For a long time, a certain set of men have called women like me ‘witches’ to silence and discredit us.’ – Lindy West.”

Nessel shared a photo of the three women in witches hats with the caption, “Witches who magically decrease Covid spread, increase voter turnout and hold sexual predators accountable without any help from the legislature? Sign me up for that coven. Do better, Michigan GOP.”

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