Two Republican lawmakers in the Michigan legislature were reprimanded on Friday as they made their way to the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump, who has endeavoured to overturn the election results in key battleground states won by President-elect Joe Biden.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) called the meeting between State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Speaker of the State House of Representatives Lee Chatfield, and the president “an attempt to subvert our democracy and undermine the will of Michigan voters.”
Shirkey was greeted with ridicule when he landed at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.
“Certify the results!” and “Shame on you!” activists chanted, as reporters asked questions, such as “Where is the evidence of fraud?” and “What did Trump promise you?”
JUST IN: At Reagan Airport, Michigan State Sen. Majority Leader Mike Shirkey swarmed by media, activists yelling, "Certify the results!" as he heads to meet Trump.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 20, 2020
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Chatfield was mocked for his attempt to justify his meeting with Trump.
“Yeah, legitimizing a fascist coup attempt makes a lot of sense,” journalist Alex Kotch remarked sarcastically.
No matter the party, when you have an opportunity to meet with the President of the United States, of course you take it. I won’t apologize for that. In fact, I’m honored to speak with POTUS and proud to meet with him. And I look forward to our conversation. 🇺🇸
— Lee Chatfield (@LeeChatfield) November 20, 2020
Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, one of progressive advocacy groups behind the Friday protests, said the behavior of GOP members in his state is appalling.
“For too long, Republicans in Michigan have been able to hide behind gerrymandered districts and their lack of a moral compass to avoid any kind of accountability—but not anymore,” said Scott. “We will not sit idly by and watch them attack our democracy and steal our votes.”
Friday’s protest “is small taste of what’s to come if they attempt to subvert the will of the people,” Scott warned. “If Chatfield and Shirkey insist on seeing Trump today, it should be to tell him in no uncertain terms that this election is over, voters have decided, and it’s time to move forward together.”
Shirkey and Chatfield “have been mum about what specifically they will discuss,” The Hill reported, but defenders of democracy have characterized the “meeting itself as inappropriate and part of a broader effort to subvert the will of the voters.”
Bob Bauer, a legal adviser to the Biden campaign, described Trump’s Thursday invitation as “an open attempt to intimidate election officials,” which is “an abuse of office.”
According to The Hill, “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.'”
When asked if Shirkey and Chatfield should be subject to investigation, Dingell explained that, while opposed to the meeting, “she would reserve further judgment until seeing what the state lawmakers do.”
“It is telling that Michigan GOP legislative leaders Mike Shirkey and Lee Chatfield are jetting off to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with President Trump,” the Michigan Democratic Party said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”
As The Hill reported, “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… [by] discounting large numbers of votes in urban areas like Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee.”
“On Tuesday we witnessed a racist attempt by the GOP to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeted on Thursday in reference to the initial decision, later reversed, of two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to vote against certifying the results in a Democratic stronghold that includes a majority Black city.
Now, Trump wants Shirkey and Chatfield “to kiss the ring and steal the election,” Tlaib added. “He lost, period. Stop being spineless. Focus on the pandemic. People are dying.”
On Tuesday, we witnessed a racist attempt by the GOP to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. Now this impeached President wants these two to kiss the ring and steal the election. He lost, period.
Stop being spineless. Focus on the pandemic. People are dying. https://t.co/AAZyI3KdKm
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 19, 2020
According to NBC News, the Michigan lawmakers “could be risking legal exposure back home depending on what actions they take in regards to the state’s election results.”
“Michigan law is clear,” the news outlet continued. “According to the secretary of state: The state’s 16 representatives to the Electoral College must go to the candidate who won the popular vote. Trump lost the popular vote to Biden by nearly 150,000 votes in Michigan.”
Richard Primus, a constitutional law professor at the University of Michigan, cautioned Shirkey and Chatfield, writing that they “are being visibly invited to a meeting where the likely agenda involves the felony of attempting to bribe a public official.”
‘Truly grotesque’: On way out the door, Trump prioritizes bringing back executions by firing squad and electrocution
Among the slew of potentially destructive policy changes the Trump administration is rushing to implement on its way out of power is a rule that would authorize the return of electrocutions and firing squads for federal executions, an effort critics slammed as a twisted priority amid deadly public health and economic crises.
ProPublica reported Wednesday that the rule, first published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Justice Department in August, "has raced through the process with little notice but unusual speed—and deadly consequences."
"This rule could reintroduce firing squads and electrocutions for federal executions, giving the government more options for administering capital punishment as drugs used in lethal injections become unavailable," ProPublica noted. "The Justice Department surfaced the proposal in August and accepted public comments for only 30 days, instead of the usual 60. The rule cleared White House review on Nov. 6, meaning it could be finalized any day."
Americans ‘won’t stand’ for election results not being honored: Biden
US President-elect Joe Biden said Wednesday that Americans "won't stand" for the results of the November 3 election not being honored.
"Our democracy was tested this year," Biden said in a Thanksgiving Day address in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. "And what we learned is this: The people of this nation are up to the task.
"In America, we have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results," he said. "The people of this nation and the laws of the land won't stand for anything else."
Biden did not mention Donald Trump by name but he was clearly referring to the president's refusal to accept the results of the election.
The strange truth about our Trump addiction
Are we addicted to Donald Trump? It's a question that's haunting journalists and political commentators, most of whom hate Trump but cannot deny that his name drives traffic and ratings. Even though Trump lost the election and Joe Biden will be the next president, Trump continues to be the big attention draw for political websites and cable news networks.
Part of that is completely understandable. Trump is still big news. He literally spent the past few weeks attempting a coup. While he failed, that doesn't change the history-making fact that he even tried, or that he got so much support. Certainly Biden, whose main activity is finding boring-but-competent people to staff his administration, can't compete with that, and there's no real indication that he wants to. (Unlike Trump, Biden views governing as a job and not just an opportunity to get attention.)