- Republican lawmakers supported Trump's election fraud claims for fear of violent reprisals from hardline supporters of the president, GOP lawmakers said.
- Republican sources told Politico the fear is acute among Republicans in Trump-voting districts who voted last week to certify President-elect Biden's victory.
- Newly elected GOP Rep. Peter Meijer many "knew in their heart of hearts that they should've voted to certify, but some had legitimate concerns about the safety of their families."
- Some Trump supporters who violently stormed the Capitol last week were seeking revenge against those they think betrayed Trump, including Vice President Mike Pence.
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Some Republican lawmakers backed President Donald Trump's election fraud conspiracy theories because they are living in fear of violent reprisals from hardline supporters of the president, GOP lawmakers have said.
Multiple Republicans told Politico that there is enhanced fear among lawmakers from the party who live in areas where there is widespread support for the president.
Many returned home to find that their constituents backed the riots by hardline Trump supporters that engulfed the Capitol last week and led to five deaths.
Newly-elected Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, in an interview with Reason.com last week, said that colleagues acted out of fear by opposing the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
He said he "had colleagues who, when it came time to recognize reality and vote to certify Arizona and Pennsylvania in the Electoral College, they knew in their heart of hearts that they should've voted to certify, but some had legitimate concerns about the safety of their families. They felt that that vote would put their families in danger."
Read more: Could Trump mass-pardon his supporters who rioted at the Capitol? He has the power, and there is historical precedent.
As Trump has pursued his groundless claims that the election was stolen from him by mass fraud, Republican lawmakers and state officials who refused to back him have been harassed and threatened by his supporters.
In Georgia, top state election official Gabriel Sterling warned on December 2 that the president's rhetoric was "inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence" and warned that "someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed."
A Pennsylvania state GOP official told The New York Times on December 9 that if she didn't back Trump's election fraud clams "I'd get my house bombed tonight."
"Both parties have extremists," a GOP lawmaker told Politico.
"There's a difference in our crazy people and their crazy people. Our crazy people have an excessive amount of arms. They have gun safes. They have grenades. They believe in the Second Amendment. They come here and Trump's made them think this is the Alamo."
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