It was Trump’s last real hope to reverse his election defeat. On Friday, the Republican legislative leaders of Michigan, a state won by Biden in which the Trump campaign has made baseless allegations of massive voter fraud, were summoned to the White House to hear President Trump’s personal plea for intervention. But then, after an eyeball-to-eyeball meeting with the president, state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield publicly announced that “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, as we have said throughout this election.”
That may seem like a banal statement, but it explodes Trump’s fantasy of overturning his loss to President-elect Biden. Though there have been other efforts by Michigan Republicans to block certification of the election outcome, and Shirkey and Chatfield didn’t explicitly affirm Biden’s victory in the state — they made it clear that they would abide by the election results:
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 16 electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.
In other words, they have spurned the president’s hopes that they would usurp the popular vote and state laws and appoint pro-Trump electors themselves. It’s just not happening. And if it’s not happening there, it’s not happening anywhere.
GOP legislative leaders in two other key states have also declined the opportunity to engage in an electoral coup. As law professor Marjorie Cohn noted Thursday, Republican majority leaders in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have previously made it clear that they would not override the will of the voters in their states. Another Trump-targeted state for contesting the election, Arizona, would have to convene a special legislative session to steal the election for him, and won’t. Georgia’s Republican secretary of State and governor have certified Biden’s victory in that pivotal state.
The clock is running down on Team Trump, generally, and the available options remaining to them are running out. A direct presidential appeal to Michigan’s Republican legislators was a last desperate avenue. And it seems to be yet another blind alley.