Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was confronted by activists at the airport while he was reportedly on his way to meet with President Trump.
In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Delivery, did not say whether the election result in Michigan came up in their conversation with Trump Friday night in the White House.
However, they did not suggest that they would take steps to intervene in any way that would alter the victory of President-elect Joe Biden in the state.
“We have not yet been made aware of any information that could change the outcome of the Michigan election, and as lawmakers we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan voters, as we have said during this election,” Press release.
“Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free of threats and threats. Allegations of fraudulent conduct should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated and, if proven, fully prosecuted by law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections. and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths that should give confidence in our election. ”
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Many feared that Trump would try to encourage Republican legislators to overcome the will of the majority of voters in Michigan and somehow deliver the state’s electoral votes to him.
Any attempt is likely to be in violation of Michigan or federal law or require a new state law. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, would almost certainly not sign a bill that would allow the legislature to cast ballots, and failure to obtain the two-thirds majority in State House needed to overthrow Whitmer’s veto is almost guaranteed. Both Chatfield and Shirkey had publicly stated that they would not convince lawmakers to put election campaigners for Trump.
In the statement that they were focusing on requests for additional COVID-19 assistance, leaders reiterated a call made earlier this week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. On Thursday, Whitmer said she sent a letter to Trump and federal lawmakers asking for more federal aid for unemployment benefits and smaller businesses.
She said she asked Republican lawmakers to sign the letter, but they declined. In their own letter, Republican leaders said “we feel it is important to represent our position clearly from the governor’s.”
The letter Chatfield and Shirkey sent to the president and federal lawmakers on Friday is pretty much the same as Whitmer and Michigan Democratic lawmakers sent to the same federal lawmakers the day before.
In their Friday statement, Shirkey and Chatfield said: “Months ago, Michigan received funding through the Federal CARES Act, and we used that funding to quickly support frontline workers, improve testing, ensure adequate PPE, provide additional support to out-of-work Michiganders, and provide assistance. to local businesses that are not struggling without their own fault.
Legislative leaders faced enormous national control over their decision to meet with the president as Trump and his campaign continue to spread inaccurate and misleading information in an attempt to undermine the election results.
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Earlier in the day, Chatfield defended the decision to attend the White House meeting.
“Regardless of the party, when you have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States, you take it for granted. I will not apologize for that. In fact, I am honored to speak with POTUS and proud to meet with him. And I see until our conversation, “Shirkey tweeted with an American flag emoji a few minutes before noon.
During a news briefing earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it “would not be a lawyer’s meeting,” according to the U.S. TODAY.
“There will be no one from the campaign there, he meets routinely with lawmakers from across the country,” McEnany said.
Reports from Axios and others, however, suggested that there would be campaign attorneys at the meeting.
Until the tweet, Chatfield and Shirkey had remained largely close to their meeting with the president. Shirkey was bullied by activists and journalists at airports in Detroit and Washington, DC In a viral clip, Shirkey appeared to sign verses from the popular worship song “I Believe on a Hill Called Mount Calvary” when people shouted questions at him.
Second video appeared to show the elected House Speaker from Michigan House, Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, and State Senator Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, joining Shirkey on his journey. It was unclear whether they also attended the White House meeting.
Biden’s campaign and many other Democratic leaders blew up the president for convening the meeting. On Friday, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat who also served as state’s attorney, suggested there might be some sort of inappropriate request from Chatfield and Shirkey during the meeting.
“If it was me, I would turn around so quickly, or if they would not turn around, they would have to carry a cord,” Granholm said during a press conference.
Barb McQuade, a former federal prosecutor in Detroit under President Barack Obama and current law professor at the University of Michigan, was less careful. She said the president, who convened state legislators for the White House, is a “red flag that there may be criminal activity in the air.”
“One of the things I see as a prosecutor is a candidate for elected office who urges state and local officials to discuss an election and try to bully them into overthrowing the will of the people. “It’s potentially criminal under federal and state laws, and that’s why I think that way of inciting people to commit crimes is incredibly shocking for someone who is president of the United States,” McQuade said during a news conference.
“The prosecution’s focus will typically be on the person who encourages the crime. Although anyone who participates certainly has some potential responsibility. The criminal here would be the president himself for any number of offenses. ”
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Biden campaign lawyer Bob Bauer called the meeting an overt attempt to intimidate elected officials.
“On the one hand, this is really very detrimental to the democratic process, and it actually worries the people a lot. On the other hand, it is doomed to failure,” Bauer said.
“There is nothing, I can imagine, that lies more under the President of the United States than to persecute officials … to at least try to give people the impression that there is a possibility that he will still win the election. ”
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is set to meet Monday to consider certifying state election results.
Contact Dave Boucher at email@example.com or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @ Dave_Boucher1.
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