Democrats, Biden camp blast Michigan state lawmakers for Trump meeting

Two top lawmakers in the Michigan state legislature faced backlash on Friday as they traveled to the White House for a meeting with President Trump, who has aggressively sought to undermine the presidential election results in the state.

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was met with jeers and chants of “certify the results” upon landing at Reagan National Airport in Washington.

Shirkey and state House Speaker Lee Chatfield are expected to meet with Trump later Friday afternoon, though they have been mum about what specifically they will discuss.

Michigan Democrats and a top adviser to the Biden campaign ridiculed the meeting itself as inappropriate and part of a broader effort to subvert the will of the voters.

“This goes beyond partisan politics, and it’s an attempt to subvert our democracy and undermine the will of Michigan voters,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.

Dingell and others have expressed cautious optimism that state lawmakers will not cave if Trump urges them to reverse the results in Michigan, citing Shirkey’s comments earlier this week that an electoral coup in the state is “not going to happen.” 

The congresswoman, asked if the meeting would warrant an investigation into Shirkey and Chatfield, said she felt the gathering was inappropriate but that she would reserve further judgment until seeing what the state lawmakers do.

“I would like to meet with them myself so we can just have an open and honest conversation about what’s going on, and I’m waiting to see what their actions are really going to be,” Dingell said.

“I’m hopeful when he emerges from this meeting with President Trump that he’s going to stand by the voters of Michigan,” state Sen. Jeff Irwin (D) said on the conference call.

Irwin likened the optics of the meeting to Shirkey and Chatfield “getting called into the principal’s office.”

Bob Bauer, a legal adviser to the Biden campaign, called the meeting “appalling” and “pathetic.” 

“It’s an abuse of office,” Bauer said of Trump. “It’s an open attempt to intimidate election officials.”

Trump’s meeting with the Michigan lawmakers is not listed on his public schedule, but it is expected to take place later Friday afternoon.

Trump and members of his legal team have zeroed in on a long-shot bid to overturn the election results in Michigan and other states where Joe Biden has been projected as the winner.

The strategy has focused on discounting large numbers of votes in urban areas like Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Those areas are Democratic strongholds and home to high percentages of Black voters.

The president reached out on Tuesday night to officials in Wayne County, Mich., who had sought to block the certification of votes there.

The effort by those officials brought calls of racism from Detroit’s mayor given the number of votes by Black Americans that might have been overturned. Biden is ahead in Michigan by more than 140,000 votes. 

Tags 2020 election Debbie Dingell Donald Trump Joe Biden Michigan
See all Hill.TV See all Video