LANSING — Last night in Kent County, still-yet-to-file candidate and prolific question-dodger James Craig completed the second installment of his “off-Broadway” dress rehearsal tour to iron out his applause lines and figure out which empty platitudes earned the most praise.
So canned and identical was yesterday’s speech to Craig’s “Under the Oaks” address delivered earlier this month that the Lansing consultant-drafted talking points slipped out of context in some areas, most notably when Craig says “we are here today for this great celebration.” Unlike in Jackson County, where that line was originally given, Monday night’s audience wasn’t gathered for any particular occasion besides hearing from Craig.
In a real-world testament to recent reporting on how divided Michigan Republicans have become, and in the wake of Jason Roe’s departure from his post as MIGOP’s executive director after earning significant criticism from within his own party for not denying the fact that Trump legitimately lost, one of Craig’s lines fell extremely flat. His use of Lincoln’s quote that “a house divided against itself cannot stand” earned a single clap across the two separate times he said the line in his speech yesterday.
Additionally, Craig vowed to “defend our police, not defund them” and “honor the service of our men and women who keep us safe.” That honor and defense has been transparently selective. As MDP pointed out last week, Craig refuses to denounce dangerous lies that the insurrectionists that descended on DC on January 6th and brutally assaulted police officers with crude weapons were being peaceful.
Other highlights include Craig’s repeated fixation on out-of-state figures like Californian Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who was mentioned more times than Governor Whitmer.
And as has become tradition for James Craig, he was quickly whisked away by staff after completing his speech, dodging questions from reporters and voters alike — a point that dominated local coverage:
Detroit Free Press: “After speaking, Craig left through a back door without taking questions from the audience or reporters. […] Michael Farage, president of the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association who also attended Monday, said Craig gave ‘more of a pep talk … than a campaign speech,’ and he would have liked Craig to take some questions from the audience.
Farage noted that Craig quoted former President Abraham Lincoln as saying, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand,’ but did not address the elephant in the room — the November 2020 election. The Republican Party is a house divided because half the party, which Farage said includes him, believes the election was stolen, but much of the party establishment does not want to talk about it, he said.”
The Detroit News: “The former police chief didn’t take questions from reporters after the speech. […] There are also unknowns about the former chief, including where he stands on key political issues and how he’ll handle questions about Trump, who has become a political lightning rod.”
FOX 17 West Michigan: “Following his speech, Craig did not take questions from the press.”
MLive: “Craig left immediately following his speech Monday and did not take questions from the audience or reporters.”
Gongwer: “The speech was similar to his address in Jackson earlier this month” […] “Mr. Craig left immediately following the speech and did not take questions from the press.”
Craig Mauger: “Craig didn’t take questions from reporters after the event. It remains unclear when that will happen.”