Trump invites Mich. GOP leaders to White House
DETROIT (AP) — President Donald Trump summoned Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders to the White House for a meeting Friday amid a longshot GOP push to overturn the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state.
Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Trump invited Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. They agreed to go, according to a state official aware of the leaders’ plans. The two officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing private conversations.
It was not immediately clear what the meeting would be about. Neither Shirkey nor Chatfield commented.
The Legislature would be called to select electors if Trump succeeds in convincing the state’s board of canvassers not to certify Biden’s 153,000-vote victory in the state.
Both Shirkey and Chatfield have indicated they will not try to overturn Biden’s win.
“Michigan law does not include a provision for the Legislature to directly select electors or to award electors to anyone other than the person who received the most votes,” Shirkey’s spokeswoman said last week.
Also Thursday, state officials said Michigan’s largest county cannot revoke its certification of election results after two Republicans who approved Biden’s local landslide wanted to revert to their initial stance of refusing to bless the vote tally.
The GOP effort to change position represented another complication in what is typically a routine task. Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two Republican canvassers in Wayne County, said they only voted to certify the results after “hours of sustained pressure” and after getting promises that their concerns about the election would be investigated.
“We deserve better — but more importantly, the American people deserve better — than to be forced to accept an outcome achieved through intimidation, deception and threats of violence,” they said in a statement Wednesday night. “Wayne County voters need to have full confidence in this process.”
State officials said the certification of the Detroit-area vote will stand. Michigan’s chief election officer said a post-election audit will be performed, though not to check “mythical allegations” of fraud.
“There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote. Their job is done, and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify,” said Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for the Michigan secretary of state.
The four-member state board, which is expected to meet Monday, is split with two Democrats and two Republicans — the same makeup as the Wayne County board.
Trump’s campaign says the latest about-face by Palmer and Hartmann is legitimate. It withdrew a federal lawsuit challenging the Detroit-area results, attaching affidavits from the pair.
Palmer and Hartmann initially voted against certification Tuesday, leaving the county Board of Canvassers deadlocked at 2-2 along party lines. Palmer complained that certain Detroit precincts were out of balance, meaning that absentee ballot books did not match the number of ballots cast.