Trump invites GOP Michigan lawmakers to White House amid challenge to election results

President Trump on Thursday invited Republican state legislators from Michigan to visit the White House as he wages a fierce campaign to undermine the election results in the Wolverine State and other battlegrounds that went for President-elect Joe Biden. 

An official familiar with the plans confirmed that the president will meet with Michigan lawmakers Friday, but it was not immediately clear how many will attend and what Trump intends to say upon their arrival.

The meeting comes amid a full-court press by Trump and his legal team to subvert Michigan’s election results, which currently show him losing to Biden by more than 150,000 votes.

His attorneys are also looking to overturn the results in a handful of other states including Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin through lawsuits, efforts to sway the vote certification process and pressuring state lawmakers to send pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College.

Michigan’s electoral margin is the widest of any state where Trump’s team is contesting the results, though its vote certification process was thrust into the national spotlight Tuesday night when the four-member canvass board of Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Detroit, refused to certify the election results after a 2-2 deadlock along partisan lines. 

The two Republican members of the panel said the results should not be certified over slight discrepancies in parts of Wayne County where Biden won big. However, those same issues did not prevent them from certifying election results in the 2016 general election or 2020 primary race or in other areas in the county where Biden won by narrower margins. 

The board later that night reversed course and unanimously certified the election results amid an avalanche of criticism, but the two Republican members later submitted affidavits alleging they were bullied into doing so.

Trump later reportedly spoke with Monica Palmer, one of the GOP members of the panel.

The Trump team withdrew a lawsuit in Michigan after the release of the affidavits. Officials have told news outlets that the vote to unanimously certify the election results in Wayne County remains final.

Biden won Wayne County by 38 points, and Michigan’s statewide elections board must certify its overall election results by Monday. 

State lawmakers could technically try to send representatives supportive of the president to the Electoral College, effectively handing the president Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, though doing so would kick a huge political hornet’s nest. Top Republicans in the state have already said they have no intention of going that route.

Trump’s effort to overturn the election results have relied largely on claims of voter fraud and other irregularities at polling places. The president and his aides, though, have thus far not presented evidence to support their claims that the issues were widespread enough to sway the entire election nationally or in any particular state.

The Michigan Democratic Party panned the planned meeting at the White House, citing reports that state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) and state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) are attending. 

“It is telling that Michigan GOP legislative leaders Mike Shirkey and Lee Chatfield are jetting off to Washington DC this week to meet with President Trump. They are more focused on continuing the GOP smoke and mirrors show designed to hide Trump’s humiliating defeat than taking care of the actual problems impacting Michiganders,” the party said in a statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes.

Shirkey and Chatfield did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

Brett Samuels contributed to this report. Updated at 3:49 p.m.

Tags 2020 2020 election Donald Trump Joe Biden Michigan Michigan elections Republican Party
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