President Donald Trump, who refuses to concede victory in the 2020 elections, which a majority of US media have called for his Democrat opponent Joe Biden, is to meet with Republican leaders from Michigan at the White House on Friday, reported The Associated Press.
According to sources cited by the outlet, as part of the current incumbent’s post-election campaign strategy to contest the purported outcome of the ballot-casting on 3 November, an effort will be made to persuade Republican-controlled legislatures in key swing states ostensibly won by Biden, such as Michigan, to contest the results.
The state’s Republican legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, have reportedly been invited by Trump to the White House, according to a Michigan-based source, to listen to what the President has to say.
Neither Shirkey nor Chatfield have commented on the report.
‘Embarrassment to the State’
The report triggered criticism from Democrat members of Michigan's congressional delegation and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who said at a news conference in Lansing:
"All the meetings in the world, though, can't take away from the fact that Joe Biden won Michigan by over 150,000 votes."
The Michigan Governor was further cited by MSNBC as saying:
“It’s incredibly dangerous that they are even entertaining the conversation… This is an embarrassment to the state.”
“It’s incredibly dangerous that they are even entertaining the conversation because we all know what the law is in Michigan," Gov. Whitmer says, discussing report on Michigan GOP lawmakers meeting with Pres. Trump at the White House Friday. "This is an embarrassment to the state" pic.twitter.com/SfwD9DHkXy— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 20, 2020
Previously both Shirkey and Chatfield indicated that they would not try to overturn Joe Biden’s projected win.
“Michigan law does not include a provision for the legislature to select electors directly or to award electors to anyone other than the person who received the most votes,” Shirkey’s spokeswoman was cited as saying last week.
Chatfield tweeted on 6 November that “whoever gets the most votes will win Michigan”.
Nothing is more important than integrity in our election system. Every single legal vote needs to be counted. Because this is America and that’s what we do! And let me be very clear: whoever gets the most votes will win Michigan! Period. End of story. Then we move on. (1/2)— Lee Chatfield (@LeeChatfield) November 6, 2020
Battle for Every Vote
Ahead of state deadlines to certify results by the 8 December federal cut-off date, after which chosen electors meet on 14 December to formally cast votes, a majority of US media outlets has already projected Joe Biden as the winner.
Overall, Biden won 79.6 million votes (51 percent) to Trump’s 73.6 million (47 percent), as of Thursday evening, with the Democrat candidate projected to capture 306 electoral college votes, well above the 270 minimum threshold.
Nothing daunted, Trump's campaign has intensified legal efforts to prevent six key battleground states from certifying the outcome of the ballot-casting on 3 November. It has also been seeking a Justice Department probe into Dominion Voting Systems, which the Trump team claims deleted and reversed votes in Biden’s favour.
“The entire election frankly in all the swing states should be overturned and the legislatures should make sure that the electors are selected for Trump,” a member of Trump’s legal team, Sidney Powell, told Fox Business on Thursday.
As projected President-elect Biden, a Democrat, is preparing to take office on 20 January, Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede and is searching for a way to invalidate the results, claiming widespread voter fraud.
Georgia, one of the key battleground states where Trump demanded a recount, was called in Biden's favour by the Associated Press earlier this day giving the Democrat candidate a total of 306 votes in the electoral college.
One of the states the Trump team had focused on was Michigan. However, on Thursday, the campaign said it had dropped a court challenge in the state, with attorney Rudy Giuliani saying:
"This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted."
We will get through this moment. The will of the people in Michigan & throughout the country will stand. Then we need to work together to rebuild the faith that everyone, on all sides, should rightfully have in our secure, accurate elections. That's the path ahead. #TeamDemocracy https://t.co/nRhKnDXbW7— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) November 20, 2020
This came as Michigan secretary of state Jocelyn Benson said all 83 counties had voted to certify the results of the 3 November election, with the Board of State Canvassers set to meet on 23 November to issue final certification. Biden won the state by approximately 155,000 votes (2.8 percent).