LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/AP) — The names of Senator Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House, Lee Chatfield are being projected on the side of the Trump DC International Hotel with the words, “voters decided” and “the world is watching,” according to a social media tweet by Chad Livengood, a senior editor at Crains Detroit.
The messages and display come after Pres. Trump invited the GOP legislators to the White House in an apparent extension of his efforts to persuade judges and election officials in the state to set aside Biden’s 154,000-vote margin of victory and grant him the state’s electors.
Trump’s efforts to override the public’s will extended to other battleground states that Biden carried as well. It all added up to an unprecedented attempt by a sitting president to maintain his grasp on power, or in failure, to delegitimize his opponent’s victory in the eyes of his army of supporters.
Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor who has been meticulously chronicling the 2020 race, wrote that there would be “rioting” in the streets if an effort was made to set aside the vote in Michigan, calling it tantamount to an attempted coup.
“We should worry because this is profoundly antidemocratic and is delegitimizing the victory of Joe Biden in a free and fair election,” Hasan wrote on his blog. “It is profoundly depressing we still have to discuss this. But it is extremely unlikely to lead to any different result for president.”
In a joint statement after the White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield said allegations of fraud should be investigated, but indicated they were unmoved by Trump’s claims thus far. “We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election.”
“The candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes,” they added, saying they used the meeting with Trump to press him for more pandemic aid money for their state.
The president on Friday again falsely claimed victory, declaring as an aside during a White House announcement on drug pricing, “I won, by the way, but you know, we’ll find that out.”
Trump’s roughly hourlong meeting Friday with the Michigan legislators came days after he personally called two local canvass board officials who had refused to certify the results in Wayne County, Michigan’s most populous county and one that overwhelmingly favored Biden. The two GOP officials eventually agreed to certify the results. But following Trump’s call, they said they had second thoughts.
The Board of State Canvassers is to meet Monday to certify the statewide outcome and it was unclear whether Republican members of that panel would similarly balk.
Some Trump allies have expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors, as the president and his attorneys have pushed baseless allegations of fraud that have been repeatedly rejected in courtrooms across the country. It was with that in mind that Trump invited the Michigan legislators. He was also said to be considering extending a similar invitation to lawmakers from Pennsylvania.