Lawmakers Slam Shirkey as Photo of Him With Militia Gains National Attention

LANSING — Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey’s affinity for extremist militias continues to garner attention. Today, national publication Newsweek reported that Shirkey was pictured with William Null, who faces 22 years in prison for felony domestic terrorism charges pertaining to “providing material support for terrorist acts” in the plot to kidnap and kill Governor Whitmer. 

As MDP also brought to light last week as the photo of Shirkey and Null was shared widely online, Null is one of the many armed extremist militia men that stormed the Michigan Capitol in April 2020, later described as a “dress rehearsal” for the violent January 6th insurrection at our nation’s Capitol that killed five.

Michigan state Senators Erika Geiss and Dayna Polehanki publicly voiced their concerns with Shirkey’s eagerness to be seen with right-wing extremists:

Senator Erika Geiss (D-District 6): “Between this and MIGOP Co-Chair Ron Weiser’s comments that he would burn Gov. Whitmer, AG Nessel, and SOS Benson at the stake, Republicans are unabashedly embracing the most dangerous rhetoric and actions of the fringes among their ranks.”

Senator Dayna Polehanki (D-District 7): “It is troubling that my colleague in the Michigan Senate appeared on a stage with some of the same men who allegedly plotted to execute Michigan legislators on live TV.”

Additionally, state Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-District 68) had words for the disastrous 39-bill anti-voter package Shirkey’s been spearheading in Lansing:

“As we’re seeing across the country right now, Republicans are happily doing whatever necessary to keep Trump’s Big Lie alive and restrict every American’s freedom to vote. What’s happening in Michigan is no exception as Republican state senators have introduced a fundamentally flawed package of anti-voter bills that severely limit early voting, make it impossible for county clerks to process elections, and install partisan challengers with the sole aim of stalling the certification of results and disenfranchising voters.”

Read key excerpts below from Newsweek’s reporting on Shirkey’s consistent close ties with extremists and willingness to fan the flames of the Big Lie:

Newsweek: GOP Michigan Sen. Mike Shirkey Pictured With Whitmer Kidnap Plot Suspect

A photo shared on the social media site Parler appears to show Mike Shirkey, a Republican state senator from Michigan, with one of the men charged over the alleged plot to kidnap the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer. […]

A screengrab of a photo that appears to show Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey with William Null, front right, who is accused of plotting to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. At the time of writing, the Parler account has been removed.

Null, 39, of Shelbyville, is one of the 14 men charged last October over the alleged plot to kidnap and kill Whitmer, a Democrat. He was also photographed among the armed protesters who stormed the Michigan Capitol in April 2020—an event that was later described by a criminal law professor as a “dress rehearsal” for the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. […]

Michigan Democrats reacted to the photo with dismay.

State Senator Dayna Polehanki told Newsweek: “It is troubling that my colleague in the Michigan Senate appeared on a stage with some of the same men who allegedly plotted to execute Michigan legislators on live TV.”

Senator Erika Geiss, a Democrat from Taylor, told Newsweek that Shirkey owes Michiganders an explanation for why he met with these “criminals” on multiple occasions.

“Between this and MIGOP Co-Chair Ron Weiser’s comments that he would burn Gov. Whitmer, AG Nessel, and SOS Benson at the stake, Republicans are unabashedly embracing the most dangerous rhetoric and actions of the fringes among their ranks,” Geiss added.

Shirkey admitted last year that he met with militia groups in Michigan after the storming of the state Capitol and offered them advice on how to get their message across.

He was also at the forefront of GOP efforts to introduce 39 “election reform bills” in Michigan in March. Democrats said the legislation would make it more difficult to vote, particularly for people in disenfranchised communities.

Reacting to the 39 election bills, State Rep. Sarah Anthony told Newsweek: “As we’re seeing across the country right now, Republicans are happily doing whatever necessary to keep Trump’s Big Lie alive and restrict every American’s freedom to vote. What’s happening in Michigan is no exception as Republican state senators have introduced a fundamentally flawed package of anti-voter bills that severely limit early voting, make it impossible for county clerks to process elections, and install partisan challengers with the sole aim of stalling the certification of results and disenfranchising voters.”

The Michigan Senate majority leader has wrongly claimed that the Capitol riot was a “hoax” designed to discredit Donald Trump and the GOP.

In February, Shirkey alleged in a radio interview that “dead people voted” last November in Michigan, but not enough to change the state’s results. He did not provide any evidence for the unsubstantiated claim.

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