(WWJ) In a surprise move, President Donald Trump has summoned Michigan's legislative leaders to the White House for what some are calling an "extraordinary meeting."
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield are headed to Washington DC together to discuss election certification strategy. Some believe it's an attempt by the president to somehow sway Michigan's 16 Electoral College votes from Biden -- who won the state by nearly 150,000 votes - to Trump.
The state Board of Canvassers is set to hold a meeting to certify the votes.
"I was invited to the White House by the president of the United States and that's enough," Shirkey told WWJ on his way to the plane about why he's attending, adding that he was excited to go. "It's the White House, you know?" he said. About 25 protesters greeted them in an effort to ensure they don't interfere in the election results.
This meeting comes after a skirmish in Wayne County where two Republican canvassers on the four-member board at first refused to certify the results, tying up the results in a deadlock. After a public outcry, they relented and certified the votes, which went 2-1 for Biden. Later, Trump spoke to them and they circled back and tried to "rescind" their vote to certify the election yesterday, something that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said had no legal basis -- or possibility.
The AP reports if Trump convinces Michigan’s state board of canvassers not to certify Biden’s victory in the state, state lawmakers could be called on to select electors, "but such a brazen move would be unprecedented and possibly illegal. It would be certain to draw a swift legal challenge."
Neither Shirkey and Chatfield would comment on what they planned to address at the meeting, but they have indicated that 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. On Nov. 6, Chatfield tweeted: “Whoever gets the most votes will win Michigan! Period. End of story. Then we move on.
Asked at a Lansing news conference about the plan for legislative leaders to visit Trump, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, “I hope they wear masks, and I hope they stay safe.”
“All the meetings in the world, though, can’t take away from the fact that Joe Biden won Michigan by over 150,000 votes,” Whitmer added. “That’s 14 times the margin that Donald Trump won by in 2016. ... So we will be sending a slate of electors that reflects the will of the people of Michigan at the end of this process.”