“We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan, and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors,” state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the Michigan House Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, said in a joint statement.
“Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation,” they added.
They noted that “allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” But they also emphasized that “candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”
Biden leads Trump by more than 140,000 votes in Michigan, which Trump carried in 2016 by about 11,000 votes. Trump has not yet conceded the election to his rival, making unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud that many Republican politicians have parroted.
Observers suspected Trump’s meeting with the legislative leaders was a long-shot bid to convince them to wield their power to sway electoral votes for him, despite the wishes of Michigan voters. The president invited the men to Washington after reaching out Tuesday to GOP officials in Detroit’s Wayne County who had tried to block the certification of votes there before reversing following a furious response from the public.
Axios reported Friday that Shirkey and Chatfield were supposed to meet with the Trump campaign’s legal team, now headed by the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
But the meeting was called off due to the lawyers’ likely exposure to COVID-19. Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who had been present during a meeting with the lawyers, announced Friday morning that he had tested positive for the virus. He had also attended his father’s press conference Thursday.
Shirkey said earlier this week that an electoral coup in Michigan is “not going to happen.” Onlookers demanded that he “certify the vote” when he landed at Reagan National Airport Friday morning.
The Michigan lawmakers said their colleagues supported their statement. They took the meeting as an opportunity to present Trump with a letter pressing for congressional aid to help the state deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Chatfield said on Twitter that “of course” you take any opportunity to meet a president of the United States, “no matter the party.” He added: “I won’t apologize for that. In fact, I’m honored to speak with POTUS and proud to meet with him.”