Trump admits Michigan Republicans met to discuss coup

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EVAN EL-AMIN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM, MICHIGAN.GOV
  • Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com, Michigan.gov

On Friday, Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield agreed to meet at the White House at President Donald Trump's behest, a move that was met with intense backlash.

Since losing the election, Trump has for weeks alleged widespread voter fraud in Michigan, a state he lost to Joe Biden by about 150,000 votes. He has not yet produced any evidence of this alleged fraud, but he and his supporters have pointed to typical and minor discrepancies with the vote tally in Detroit as proof that something must be amiss.



In a statement, Shirkey and Chatfield defended their decision to meet with the president and downplayed that discussing overturning the results of the 2020 election was on the agenda. They claim to have gone to the White House primarily to discuss federal coronavirus aid for Michigan.

Tucked in the fifth paragraph of their statement is a passing mention of investigations into Michigan's elections:



“The President of the United States extended invitations to us on Wednesday evening. We each accepted his invitation as we would accept an invitation from any sitting President if asked to meet at the White House. We were proud to be joined by our colleagues to represent Michigan in our nation’s capital.

“We used our time in the White House to deliver a letter to President Trump making clear our support for additional federal funds to help Michigan in the fight against COVID-19. We have since sent the same correspondence to congressional leaders.

“Months ago, Michigan received funds through the federal CARES Act, and we used that funding to quickly support front line workers, improve testing, ensure adequate PPE, provide additional support to out-of-work Michiganders, and deliver assistance to local businesses that are struggling through no fault of their own. We once again face a time in our state when additional support would go a long way to help those same residents who need our help.

“We highlighted our commitment to appropriating further federal dollars to Michiganders most in need as we continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19. We also emphasized our commitment to fiscal responsibility in the state budget as we move forward.

“The Senate and House Oversight Committees are actively engaged in a thorough review of Michigan’s elections process and we have faith in the committee process to provide greater transparency and accountability to our citizens. 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, just as we have said throughout this election.

“Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”

The two Republicans admit they "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, just as we have said throughout this election."

But that they went to the White House to discuss COVID-19 — and alleged election fraud was just a minor itinerary item — seems highly unlikely, however.

For one, Trump cannot help himself, and seemed to spill the beans on Twitter, like an inept James Bond villain.

"This is true, but much different than reported by the media," said Trump, quote-tweeting Shirkey's statement. "We will show massive and unprecedented fraud!"

The tweet was slapped with one of Twitter's fact-check warnings: "This claim about election fraud is disputed."


Plus, there's the fact that Shirkey and Chatfield have repeatedly fought Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on her coronavirus shutdown measures. Mere hours after an alleged FBI-thwarted domestic terrorist plot to murder Whitmer was revealed, both Shirkey and Chatfield appeared at an anti-Whitmer rally in Lansing, where Shirkey equated Whitmer to a dictator. And last night, Chatfield was caught drinking Champagne around midnight at the Trump Hotel without social distancing. Does that seem like something someone who was primarily concerned about fighting COVID-19 would do?


Trump, Shirkey, and Chatfield might claim that they met, in small part, to discuss election integrity, but it's semantics at this point. Trump and his lawyers have made it no secret that they want to try to overthrow Detroit's vote.

The day before Trump called Shirkey and Chatfield, he called the Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers; after the call, they attempted to rescind their certification of the county's votes.

"If the state board follows suit, the Republican state legislator (sic) will select the electors," Jenna Ellis, one of Trump's lawyers, wrote on Twitter.

"It changes the result of the election in Michigan if you take out Wayne County," Rudy Giuliani, another of Trump's lawyers, said at a Thursday press conference.

All available evidence points to Trump losing Michigan by a large margin. There is no evidence of fraud, and even if they don't describe it this way, Shirkey and Chatfield were meeting with Trump to discuss what can only be described as an attempted coup.

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