Bergman: No regrets about vote challenge
ALPENA — U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, said he challenged Michigan’s election results and voted against President Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment to seek transparency and restore integrity.
The majority of the Democratic-led U.S. House said Trump incited the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 with his rhetoric at a rally immediately before the incident in which the president repeated widely debunked claims of widespread voter fraud on Nov. 3.
Ten Republicans joined Democrats in approving the single article of impeachment, but Bergman was not among them.
Many critics on both sides of the aisle blamed the violence at the Capitol on the false claims of election fraud, and some have said Bergman and others who voted to challenge the Electoral College results should resign.
Bergman, however, said on Monday his conviction is to the people in northern Michigan who had concerns about the presidential election in the state and wanted further audits of the results. He said most people he had correspondence with also didn’t want the president to be impeached.
Like himself, constituents also voiced concerns over how quickly the impeachment articles were drafted and the subsequent vote carried out, with little fact-finding and debate, Bergman said.
Bergman, who is in his third term, said the actions he took in Washington over the last couple weeks were directives from the people in his district, which covers the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula and voted overwhelmingly for Trump on Nov. 3.
Bergman also won by a large margin in last year’s election.
Bergman said people of any party who have concerns about the transparency or integrity of their government deserve to have their voices heard through legal and constitutional means. That is why he took the steps he did, he said.
Bergman said people should not lash out with violence to try to disrupt the government.
Bergman said he challenged the Michigan results because of concern about odd vote totals from Antrim County, which is in Bergman’s district. He said that raised red flags with many people who wanted a statewide audit and investigation.
Early unofficial results in solidly Republican Antrim County initially showed Democrat Joe Biden beating Trump. The Republican county clerk attributed the mixup — which was corrected before votes were certified — to human error, and subsequent reviews by the state and a legislative inquiry found no evidence to support conspiracy theories that the voting software used in Antrim County intentionally flipped the votes.
“We wanted to look into the transparency of the election,” Bergman said. “I believe we should have had an audit and looked at the states where the numbers didn’t add up, and why was that? We exercised the process, as it is written, just as others have done in the past. Some of these totals were statistically impossible.”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has begun a statewide audit of Michigan’s results. Judges appointed by both Republicans and Democrats and the U.S. Justice Department have said they’ve found no evidence of widespread fraud.
After the 2016 election, some House Democrats challenged election results showing Trump won the state, but they didn’t have support from a senator to move those challenges forward.
Bergman challenged the 2020 vote on Jan. 6 after the Capitol was overrun by Trump supporters.
Bergman said words do have consequences, but he added he does not believe Trump was solely to blame for what happened at the Capitol. He said that, at the time of the impeachment vote, lawmakers had very few details from an investigation that was just beginning into the riot, and normal procedures for impeachment were bypassed.
“You don’t impeach just to impeach,” Bergman said. “You are innocent until proven guilty in the United States.”
Bergman said he had no regrets about challenging the election results or voting against impeachment. He said what is most important now is to calm the politically driven tensions and division in the nation’s capital and around the country.
“I love our country and the sacrifices that were made for it,” Bergman said. “I also took an oath to defend the Constitution and die to defend it. The important question now is, how do we move forward from here? We are divided and we need more integrity and transparency now more than ever.”