Only in a banana Republic do you expect the defeated president to attempt to buy off or threaten his way into victory after losing decisively.
But that’s what authoritarian wannabe Donald Trump is doing.
Trump has invited the leaders of Michigan’s Republican-controlled state legislature to meet him in Washington tomorrow, as the defeated president and his allies continue an extraordinary campaign to overturn the results of an election he lost.
Trump’s campaign has suffered defeats in courtrooms across the country in its efforts to allege irregularities with the ballot-counting process, and has failed to muster any evidence of the widespread fraud that the president continues to claim tainted the 2020 election.
Trump lost Michigan by a wide margin: At present, he trails President-Elect Joe Biden in the state by 157,000 votes.
Earlier this week, the state’s Republican Senate majority leader said an effort to have legislators throw out election results was “not going to happen.”
But Trump now appears to be using the full weight of his office to challenge the election results, as he and his allies reach out personally to state and local officials in an intensifying effort to halt the certification of the vote in key battleground states.
In an incendiary news conference in Washington, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who is now serving as Trump’s lead attorney, made baseless claims that Biden had orchestrated a national conspiracy to rig the vote.
Trump’s team appear to be increasingly focused on Michigan as a place where Republican officials — on the state’s Board of Canvassers and in the legislature — might be persuaded to overturn the results.
Earlier this week, Trump called a member of Wayne County’s Board of Canvassers after a contentious meeting in which she first refused, and then agreed, to certify election results from the state’s largest county.
She subsequently released an affidavit seeking to “rescind” her vote for certification — a move that the secretary of state’s office said was impossible.
Legal experts condemned the president’s actions, saying he was trying to use the power of his office to alter the vote.
“To bring the weight of the White House and the presidency onto an individual county canvassing board commissioner about what to do with certification is an incredible assault on the democratic process,” said Richard H. Pildes, a constitutional law professor at New York University. “No question about that.”
Joanna Lydgate, the national director of the Voter Protection Program, said that “there is no basis in fact or law for failing to certify the election.”
“The president’s unpatriotic behavior is reaching new heights with summoning state legislative officials to the White House,” she said. “But the legislature has no role in certification, as its leaders have already publicly admitted. This raises serious legal and ethical concerns about the president’s conduct — but it will not alter the outcome of the election.”
Despite that, Trump and his allies have spent the last week making baseless allegations of fraud in lawsuits, news conferences and tweets — seemingly probing to find a judge or an elected official who would accept them.
At the news conference in Washington today, Giuliani claimed without evidence that the campaign could roll back Biden’s wins in multiple states, including Michigan.
“It changes the result of the election in Michigan if you take out Wayne County,” he said. Wayne County includes Detroit, the state’s heavily Democratic, majority-Black largest city.
Also today, Trump’s efforts seemed to have gained some traction, with the news that Michigan’s GOP leaders appear willing to meet with him.
The Detroit News reported that the state GOP legislative leaders who plan to visit the White House on Friday are Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield.
Earlier this week, Shirkey said that Biden is the president-elect, and that an effort to award Michigan’s electoral votes to Trump was “not going to happen,” according to the news outlet Bridge Michigan.
In Michigan, the high-water mark for Trump’s efforts so far came Tuesday night, during an hours-long meeting of the Wayne County board of canvassers.
The board’s two GOP members voted against certifying the county’s results, which overwhelmingly favored Biden.
But then, after three hours of angry comments from the public, the two GOP members changed their minds and voted to certify the results.
After the meeting, Trump called one of the two GOP members, Monica Palmer.
Palmer said that Trump did not pressure her to change her vote.
“It was not pressure. It was genuine concern for my safety,” Palmer said.
After that, however, Palmer and the board’s other GOP member changed their minds again:
On Wednesday, they signed affidavits saying they wanted to “rescind” their votes.
The two said they were improperly pressured into certifying the election and accused Democrats of reneging on a promise to audit votes in Detroit.
Source: The Washington Post