Ronald Weiser
Ron Weiser at the University of Michigan Regents Candidate Forum in 2014. (Creative Commons/University of Michigan's Ford School)

Weiser is also about to begin a third term as MI GOP chair.

University of Michigan Regent and incoming Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser is in the hot seat after not denouncing President Trump for his role in last Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol attack, and a petition organized by members of the U-M community is calling for his resignation or removal from the Board of Regents.

“The evidence is clear: Ron Weiser is complicit in Wednesday’s historic and horrifying events, and continues to defend their instigators,” the petition states. “We demand that he either resign or be recalled by the Board of Regents, and we expect [U-M] President [Mark] Schlissel to condemn this threat to all students of color on campus.”

As of January 11, nearly 4,000 people had signed the online petition

On Jan. 7, Weiser, who is Jewish, told Bridge Michigan he wasn’t sure if President Trump was responsible for the riots, which included the deaths of five people and was widely regarded as a terrorist attack. Instead, Weiser said he was watching a U-M basketball game that had actually been played about five hours later.

Weiser also said he spent that day “in a dental chair having oral surgery” in a text message to the Detroit News. “I am guilty of not watching news on TV or watching or using social media. Nothing more,” he told the News. Weiser has not responded to the JN’s request for comment.

Weiser also defended state Republican strategist and vocal Trump supporter Meshawn Maddock, who is running as his co-chair. Maddock spoke at a Washington, D.C. “stop the steal” rally (the movement that falsely believes the election was “stolen” from Trump) one day before the riots, and also helped bus Trump supporters in from Michigan. Weiser said Maddock had nothing to do with the Capitol attack, saying she “was in a hotel room watching it from a window.”

The day the Bridge Michigan interview was published, and one day after the riot, Weiser condemned the attacks on Twitter.

“I strongly condemn those people who turned into a mob and breached the capitol after what was supposed to be a peaceful protest,” Weiser said. “Those who broke the law should be held accountable. My heart goes out to the families of those who were unnecessarily harmed.”

Weiser made another statement through Twitter two days later, on January 9, still not condemning Trump.

“Let me be clear, the events in our nation’s Capital this week were both incredibly tragic and wrong. People were misled. And that resulted in death and destruction. That is unacceptable and abhorrent,” Weiser wrote.

But Weiser, who is also a former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia, founder of the real estate company McKinley Associates Inc. and a two-time previous Michigan Republican Party Chair, has resisted calls to step down.

U-M Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Rick Fitzgerald responded to the JN’s request for official comment with U-M President Schlissel’s statement on the riots and Weiser’s Twitter statement, but did not comment on the petition directly.

Noting that regents are elected on statewide ballots, Fitzgerald referred further queries about regent recall efforts to Michigan’s Secretary of State office.

The petition against Weiser is endorsed by current and former U-M student government presidents; the Oakland County Democratic Party; former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed; and labor organizations including the U-M Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO).

“As members of the University of Michigan community, we refuse to stand idly by as one of our Administrators betrays every member of the campus he claims to represent,” it reads.

U-M GEO Secretary Amir Fleischmann believes Weiser’s inaction is “utterly reprehensible,” and said the petition had been launched by undergraduates at the university.

“I think Ron Weiser has shown his total disregard for many in the U-M community who would be adversely affected by the insurrection and the demands of these protesters that are rooted in white supremacy, racism and sexism,” Flesichmann said.

Fleischmann also said there may be U-M protests in the works.

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