Pathetic Pete Hoekstra was MAGA before MAGA

It didn’t matter if Crazy Christofascist Kristina Karamo, or Pathetic Pete Hoekstra were leading the state party since all Michigan Republicans can agree on one thing: Donald Trump is their Dear Leader.

Trump defeated challenger Nikki Haley in last week’s primary, and then secured all 39 delegates in the state GOP’s congressional caucuses. He ends up winning 51 of the state’s 55 delegates at the Republican National Convention.

It happened even though the state GOP was in the midst of an internal battle between factions fighting who could out-MAGA the other.

In the end, the Pete Hoekstra wing won in court, ruling that former Chair Karamo was indeed replaced fair and square. So, the former congressman and Trump ambassador to the Netherlands is back in power, promising to bring the party’s finances back in order after Karamo and her people emptied the band account.

But make no mistake, on the ideological scale, there isn’t much daylight between Karamo and Hoekstra.

Sure, unlike Karamo, Pete Hoekstra may not believe in demonic possession (at least, he hasn’t publicly announced that he does), but don’t think for a second Hoekstra represents some mythical “normal” Republican.

I’ve always said that Trump didn’t happen in a vacuum.

The mean-spiritedness, the racism, the misogyny, the pro-corporate/anti-worker beliefs, and the belief they are always on the right side have always been hallmarks of the Republican Party for my entire lifetime.

Trump just learned how to say the quiet parts out-loud, and he knew he’d be rewarded by the corporatists and the religious extremists in the party.

And that’s why Hoekstra staunchly defended Trump way back in 2016, serving as one of the five co-chairs for Trump’s campaign in the state. He loved Trump’s style of always being on the attack, never apologizing, siding with management, and owning the libs.

Trump rewarded Hoekstra for his loyalism by appointing him the ambassador to the Netherlands since Hoekstra was born there, and then immigrated to the U.S. when he was a boy. Of course, Hoekstra didn’t believe in the Great Replacement Theory then, I guess.

You’d think being an ambassador to the Netherlands would be a nice, comfy little job for Pete, right?

Well, no.

During his first year, Hoekstra was questioned by a Dutch reporter over Hoekstra’s Islamophobic remarks he made in 2015 that the Netherlands had enacted “no go” zones since Dutch politicians and vehicles were being set on fire by radical Islam.

At first, Hoekstra stood his ground like a tough little Trumper, and said he never made such remarks. In fact, he even used Trump’s “fake news” phrase.

But the reporter brough receipts and a video clip of Hoekstra indeed making such remarks during a panel, which was titled, “Muslim Migration Into Europe: Eurabia Come True?”

After showing the video, the reporter asked if it’s still fake news.

Pathetic Pete then tried to say he didn’t say the words “fake news,” which was laughable considering that’s what he JUST did!

Due to the fact that the video caught Hoekstra in a lie, he later apologized, which was not Trumpian, but he had no choice. He got caught.

Still, that little incident illustrated how Hoekstra was using the Trump playbook up to the point he couldn’t. That playbook is described by Dick Poleman in a 2017 column on WHYY:

This little incident shows us the Trump brand in action, the knee-jerk impulse to slime free and independent journalism — not just at home, but in western nations that have long sought to model America’s freedoms. We freed the Dutch from Nazism so that it could practice those freedoms, including a free press. To insult the Dutch with lies is a betrayal of American values and another black mark on our worsening image abroad. But that’s standard practice for the occupying forces in Washington.

Let this also be a reminder of how Hoekstra also believes in, and uses, the right wing Islamophobia playbook. He was so comfortable telling outright lies about Dutch “no go” zones because he felt comfortable talking that way inside his circle of White Christian Nationalist friends.

But always being wrong, and lying, isn’t just a MAGA trademark. It’s something Hoekstra has practiced for a long time.

Go back to 2006, when Congressman Hoekstra was still pushing the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He went on Fox News in the summer of ’06, three years after the war started, and claimed there were indeed WMD’s.

Hoekstra, and then-GOP Senator Rick Santorum, appeared on Fox News to lie about what the Duelfer Report actually said regarding WMD’s. The Duelfer Report said pre-1991 munitions were found by inspectors, but those munitions did not prove that Saddam Hussein was operating a current chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons program. The weapons served no purpose, and were old.

But Hoekstra said the discovery of those weapons proved Iraq had WMD’s!

The whole premise of the Iraq War was flimsy then back in those days, which is why many of us voiced our opposition to that war–a war which still remains as the greatest foreign policy failure of my lifetime. The premise is now known, which again many of us suspected at the time, to be a lie.

The Bush/Cheney regime used the specter of WMD’s because officials believed that was the best way to get the world to back its war. If they had argued that America had to attack Iraq because of pre-1991 weapons, the war wouldn’t have happened.

They needed to say Iraq had a current weapons program, or else there’d be no war.

As it turned-out, thanks to the Deulfer Report, the intelligence, or the intelligence Bush officials cherry-picked, was wrong. And thousands and thousands of lives were lost, and trillions of dollars were spent on that disaster.

Has Hoekstra ever apologized for lying to the American people?

Like others from that side, Pathetic Pete just found ways to tiptoe between the raindrops. Despite being on the wrong side of a major foreign policy disaster, Hoekstra returned home to run for the Michigan governor’s race, where he lost to Rick Snyder, who’d lead Michigan to economic and environmental ruin.

But Hoekstra didn’t stop there.

He ran against Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2012, and promptly got blown-out, partly because of this racist ad he ran during the Super Bowl of that year, featuring an Asian actress speaking in broken English, thanking Stabenow for spending money, which somehow weakened America while strengthening China.

Here was the ad:

That was 2012.

It wasn’t that long ago.

And the racism is right in your face.

It’s the same anti-Asian racism we’re seeing today from the MAGA crowd in their quest to stop EV battery plants being constructed in Michigan, like the proposed Gotion plant around Big Rapids.

In fact, former Michigan Republican Congressman, and current U.S. Senate candidate, Mike Rogers, posted the following on X:

See? The anti-Asian rhetoric is alive and well in Rogers’ campaign, too.

Jeff Timmer, former GOP strategist, and cohost of “A Republic, if you can keep it” podcast, responded with the following:

That’s such a perfect response, and Timmer does a great job exposing the hypocrisy of Republicans.

I looked up an old Detroit News story by reporter Craig Mauger, who found that yes, Pete Hoekstra did some lobbying work for a Chinese-based company.

Now, Hoekstra joined-in the effort to block the Gotion plant in Mecosta County (similar efforts are playing a big role in blocking farmers from using their land for clean energy projects in Montcalm County, as discussed in a recent LOL podcast). But I bet Pete hoped many would forget his lobbying days:

The former Republican congressman and U.S. ambassador to The Netherlands also has been listed as a member of the board of directors for the Mecosta Environmental Security Alliance, which was formed to fight the Gotion factory.

“This is the mentality of China,” Hoekstra said during an April 18 press conference. “Businesses are there to serve the interest of the government. The interest of the government is the Chinese Communist Party and their agenda.”

But Hoekstra has been less outspoken about his past work for Zhejiang Dehua TB Import & Export Co., which has been described as the “the largest and first public stock plywood and wood veneers” manufacturer in China.

The Washington, D.C.-based law firm Dickstein Shapiro listed Hoekstra as the lobbyist for Zhejiang Dehua TB Import & Export Co. on a 2013 filing with the U.S. House. Hoekstra served in the House from 1993 to 2011 and chaired the House Intelligence Committee.

So, it appears Hoekstra was pro-Chinese companies doing business in America before he was against it!

Hoekstra claims the situations are different, which I’m sure they are, Pete. I’m sure they are.

(Please, listen to my interview last summer with Anna Gustafson of Michigan Advance on the Gotion debate.)

These MAGA extremists used vile anti-Asian language in their efforts to block the plant. And let’s be real, they want to block a site which Governor Gretchen Whitmer can use for job creation numbers.

That’s why Hoekstra, and Michigan MAGA are against it.

Hoekstra’s always been Trumpian way before Trump.

He’s always been MAGA way before MAGA.

He believes in this Christian Nationalism that now pervades the entire Republican Party, both nationally and in Michigan.

Hoekstra started the Tea Party caucus, which is the precursor to MAGA!

He’s always fought against abortion rights, LGBTQ+rights, and paid parental leave rights, while also fighting for the gun lobby.

Progress Michigan reminds us that as a candidate for governor back in 2010, he wanted a tax code that worked for the people, and not special interests. Then, after losing, he became a lobbyist!

Progress Michigan also reminds us that he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, in which he considered fair wages for women to be a “nuisance.”

Oh, and Pete also appeared in a video where he showed up for the groundbreaking of a plant which received funding through President Obama’s Recovery Act–an act Pete voted against, of course!

And don’t minimize Hoekstra’s votes to grant big oil and gas companies lavished tax breaks as he fights to stop EV plants in the state.

Yes, crazy Kristina Karamo may be gone, but Pathetic Pete Hoekstra’s history of MAGA extremism is there for us to see.

The Michigan Republican Party is as same as it ever was.


Photo: “U.S. Ambassador Pete Hoekstra Speaks at the Finance Forum at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit” by The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

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