Michael Gableman, the former Wisconsin state Supreme Court justice leading the Wisconsin legislature’s Trumpified investigation into the 2020 election, is calling on the lone elected Republican who criticized him to resign.
State Sen. Kathy Bernier (R), a member of the chamber’s Republican leadership and chair of the Senate’s elections committee, said last month that Gableman’s investigation was headed nowhere, and suggested it was a threat to democracy.
“My advice would be to have Mr. Gableman wrap up sooner rather than later, because the longer we keep this up, the more harm we’re going to do for Republicans,” she said, speaking on a panel alongside elections experts including prominent Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg, who has also been a critic of Trump-inspired efforts to endlessly revisit the last election.
Bernier also described “this constant drumbeat of all the ‘massive voter fraud’” as “a charade.”
But it was another comment that attracted Gableman’s attention: Bernier’s said that she would carry a concealed weapons permit with her when she went to see Gableman speak publicly because his investigation “keeps jazzing up the people who think they know what they’re talking about, and they don’t.”
Gableman responded to Bernier last week while speaking at a Republican event in her home county.
“If you’re an elected official and you’re so afraid of your constituents that you think you have to bring a firearm to see them, you should take a long hard look at what you’ve been doing,” he said, speaking to the Chippewa County Republican Party.
“And then, frankly, resign,” he added.
Video of the event was first flagged by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
“He is the last person on Earth who should call for anyone’s resignation,” Bernier shot back in comments to the newspaper.
Gableman has made a practice of appearing at Republican events while conducting his investigation, including one at which he endorsed a Republican candidate for governor, Rebecca Kleefisch. He has aligned himself with election truthers, using state funds to visit the Arizona “audit” as well as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium.” His investigation has apparently ramped up in recent weeks, with threats to jail the mayors of large Democratic cities.
“In fair warning, I am about to start spending more money,” Gableman said at the Republican event last week.
Bernier, herself a former clerk, was not always a critic of efforts to investigate the 2020 election. When the state legislature hired two former police officers to look into it, she celebrated.
“This is great!” she wrote on Twitter. “If there is nothing to see here, that is fine, but if there is, then we should specifically address the issues.”
Asked this month about the apparent shift in perspective by TPM’s Matt Shuham, she replied that due diligence had been done — and it was time to move on.
“The evidence has been pretty clear, and is pretty clear, that there is not organized voter fraud,” she said. “We have enough evidence now to provide that we can have a lot of confidence in our election.”
“We need to move on for the greater good,” she added.