Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Port Huron) addresses voters in Marysville, Michigan during a March constituent event. Photo courtesy Bridget Huff
Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Port Huron) addresses voters in Marysville, Michigan during a March constituent event.

The Michigander that represents the Thumb in Congress has a habit of not walking the walk when it comes to the far-right positions she promotes.

PORT HURON, Mich.—US Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Stockbridge) represents a beautiful part of Michigan—the thumb that’s full of state parks, lakeside cottages, and scenic boardwalks. 

Michigan’s Thumb is a fascinating part of the state. A peninsula’s peninsula, the largely rural region sits scant miles from Canada. Downtown in Port Huron, a Michigander can stand in the shadow of the iconic Blue Water Bridge and see Sarnia, Ontario with the naked eye. 

And yet McClain continues thumbing her nose at Michigan voters by saying some things that are outlandish, hypocritical, and untrue. 

To say that McClain, the Republican sent to Congress by the gorgeous region, has been a controversial figure might be an understatement. She’s been a loud advocate for the platform of former President Donald Trump in the wake of his defeat both in Michigan and nationwide in the November 2020 elections. 

Though her words and her actions haven’t always aligned, and she’s faced serious criticism from her constituents already. 

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Hypocrisy 1: Proxy Voting Must End, Except for McClain

When a member of a a legislative body can’t be physically present for votes, many places including Congress, allow someone else to vote on their behalf or remotely cast their vote. This is called proxy voting. As state Senator Mallory McMorrow told The ‘Gander, it’s an extremely useful practice that means that inability to be present for some reason doesn’t mean their constituents go unrepresented. 

McClain views proxy voting as a fundamental flaw in American democracy. She cited the urgent need to be in Washington as the reason she didn’t take any town halls with constituents of color in March (a claim The ‘Gander debunked) as representing the people took precedence over talking to constituents.

She even tweeted in May that proxy voting was undemocratic.

“Proxy voting must end, and lawmakers should return and do their jobs,” she wrote. “We are here to represent the people, voting by proxy takes away that representation.”

Proxy voting is actually a normal and beneficial practice in government. But when McClain went back on her word to herself vote by proxy, it was to appear with Trump at the US-Mexican border for a press event. 

This is a similar situation that prompted her May outcry against proxy voting, blasting Democrats for using the practice to attend an event in Dearborn with President Joe Biden.

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Hypocrisy 2: There Is No Pandemic in the Thumb, Unless She Says So

Speaking of McClain and the pandemic, she’s had a history of downplaying its effects in an effort to convince both Biden and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to end protections keeping Michiganders safer when the virus was everywhere in her district.

In front of a group of constituents in Marysville, McClain compared the deaths from the coronavirus to drownings in swimming pools. That claim was shocking to attendee Ellen Yope because when she spoke those words, McClain’s district had the highest test positivity rate in the nation. The brightest hotspot of infections in Michigan at the time mapped nearly perfectly to her congressional district, and Michigan faced the worst of that wave of COVID resurgence. 

“Well, she certainly wasn’t offering any substantial solutions and wasn’t modeling appropriate behavior regarding masks,” Yope recounted to The ‘Gander. “Really the whole thing was to have people agree with her opinions without answering any of the real policy questions with a direct answer.”

Yet after Michigan’s largely successful vaccination campaign had slashed new infection rates, McClain used the pandemic as her excuse for not attending a vote while she was with Trump at the southwest border.

READ MORE: Black Rural Michiganders Struggle to Be Heard by Rep. Lisa McClain

Hypocrisy 3: The Election Was Illegitimate, Except For Her Win

She’s been routinely amplifying conspiracy theories about the 2020 election—the same one that first brought her to office. From her appearance with Trump and the border to her very first acts in office, McClain has embraced the thoroughly disproven notion that he is the true President.

Those theories have been repeatedly debunked by investigators, courts, and even Republicans in the Michigan state Senate. 

Contrary to all evidence, she’s argued that non-existent irregularities in the election mean Biden’s presidency is illegitimate. That would, however, mean her own election is also illegitimate. 

Even after the attempted coup at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, McClain voted against certifying the election. 

Of course, certifying the election is not a piecemeal process. A single ballot cannot be valid voting for McClain and invalid when voting for Biden. That logic extends to the entire election—either everything counts or none of it does.

In a letter to the Huron Daily Tribune in January, a McClain constituent called out this particular hypocrisy. 

“Sadly, Rep. McClain is leaving the gate speaking out of both sides of her mouth,” wrote Robert Siver of Caseville. “A more virtuous person might have delayed taking their seat in Congress until those same ‘irregularities’ were resolved. Unfortunately our new congresswoman isn’t looking like that virtuous person.”

Silver wrote his letter two days before the siege of the Capitol, motivated by the same disproven conspiratorial thinking McClain believes in and repeats. And that dangerous conspiracy hasn’t gone away, with a third of Republicans believing that Trump will soon be reinstated as president.