Regent Acker’s Double Standard

Campus has been buzzing the past week over comments Regent Ron Weiser made during a meeting of the North Oakland County Republican Club. The Detroit News posted the video of Weiser’s speech where he made the remarks. You should watch the video before continuing to read this piece. It becomes clear that those calling for Weiser’s resignation are taking his remarks out of context. Additionally, those who are calling for his resignation are holding a clear double standard, one that they will apply to Weiser but abandon for themselves. One of the loudest voices calling for resignation is Regent Jordan Acker, who accused Republicans of racism and Nazism in the week before the Weiser controversy began.

The two parts of Weiser’s speech his attackers are using against him are a joke he makes about assassination and his calling the three most prominent female Michigan Democratic leaders “witches:” Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Attorney General Dana Nessel.

To put the remarks in context, the people in the crowd were airing their grievances that Republican politicians representing Michigan, such as Rep. Peter Meijer who voted for President Trump’s impeachment, still had access to resources from the Michigan GOP. In response, Weiser told the crowd that constituents had to vote out Congresspeople with whom they were dissatisfied. 

“Outside of assassination, I have no other way of voting them out,” he told the crowd. “You people have to go out there and support their opponents. You have to do what you need to get out the vote in those areas.” One can convincingly argue that Weiser’s joke is ill-advised, but it was clearly not a call to kill political opponents.

One can convincingly argue that Weiser’s joke is ill-advised, but it was clearly not a call to kill political opponents.

The second weapon Weiser’s attackers are using is the “witch” name-calling. When people in the crowd clamored about Meijer, Weiser told them he was not the state party’s main focus. He said, “We’re focused on the three witches,” referencing Whitmer, Benson, and Nessel.

Had I been in Weiser’s shoes, I would not have made those comments. His choice of words was subpar, and there is a case to be made that he should apologize for them, but they are far from “dehumanizing” and “violent” language, as another Regent, Democrat Jordan Acker, has claimed. Acker was one of the first to call for Weiser’s resignation.

Acker wants to play that game? Fine, we’ll play that game.

Acker wants to play that game? Fine, we’ll play that game.

In the week before Weiser’s speech, Acker made two comments that are at least as bad as what he is condemning Weiser for.

On March 25th, he accused Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia state legislature of “literally trying to stop black people from voting,” referencing the state’s new voter ID law. In the same tweet, he called for college athletes to lobby the NCAA to move sporting events out of Georgia as a response.

A few days earlier, on March 21st, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) joked about President Biden falling while walking up the steps of Air Force One. Cawthorn tweeted, “The world is windy. We need a President who can stand.”

In response, Acker tweeted back at Cawthorn, “The President who destroyed nazism was in a wheelchair. Or were you rooting for the other guys?” In a follow-up tweet, Acker said, “Anyone who refers to Hitler as ‘the fuhrer’ is probably a Nazi.”

Acker is referencing a poorly-worded Instagram post Cathorn made about his visit to the Eagle’s Nest, Adolf Hitler’s vacation home. In the post, Cawthorn referred to Hitler as “the Fuhrer” but also called him “a supreme evil.”

The Michigan Review repeatedly requested comment from Acker via email, but he did not respond.

Acker’s behavior raises the question of what the standard for bad rhetoric on the Board of Regents should be. How are Acker’s comments any different from Weiser’s?

I happen to believe that calling a governor a racist based on Democrat misinformation is as bad as calling female political opponents witches. Likewise, accusing a disabled member of Congress of rooting against his own country in favor of the Nazis during World War II also rises to that level.

Acker must follow the standard he has created, if he believes Weiser should resign, then so should he.

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About Charles Hilu

Charles Hilu is a sophomore studying political science. Charles is also a student reporter for The College Fix, a daily publication which covers higher education. In addition to his writing, Charles serves as the secretary of Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Michigan.