Donald Trump was on Friday taking a last futile but dangerous position, unprecedented in modern American history, to overturn the outcome of the presidential election so that he could stay in power.
Even when Joe Biden’s victory in the state of Georgia was confirmed, the president met with Michigan Republican Leaders in the White House in an increasingly desperate attempt to subvert democracy after a series of court defeats on allegations of electoral fraud.
The apparent strategy of the Trump campaign is to persuade Republican-controlled legislatures in Michigan and other states on the battlefield at the electoral college to set aside the will of the people and declare Trump the winner, by despite officials declaring it the safest choice in American history.
“The entire election, frankly, in all swing states should be overruled and legislatures should make sure voters are selected for Trump,” Sidney Powell, one of Trump’s attorneys, told Fox Business Network on Thursday.
Michigan state legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, visited the White House Friday at Trump’s request.
Shirkey was greeted by protesters and the media at Washington’s Reagan International Airport. There were chants of “Certify the results!” and a cry of “Where is the evidence of fraud?”
However, after the White House meeting, Shirkey and Chatfield affirmed their commitment to comply with the electoral process, in an apparent blow to Trump’s efforts.
“We have not yet learned of any information that will change the outcome of the Michigan elections and, as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process with respect to Michigan voters,” the couple said. said in a joint statement. “Michigan’s certification process must be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation.”
Most experts have dismissed Trump’s efforts as a political fantasy and probably illegal. But they warn that an American president who tries to reverse a free and fair election could poison millions of minds, conditioning his base to lose faith in democracy and view Biden as an illegitimate president.
Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state defeated by Trump in the 2016 election, tweeted on Friday: “Protecting a man’s ego is not worth damaging the legitimacy of our democracy.”
Biden, a former vice president, won the election and is preparing to take office on January 20, but Trump has refused to budge and is seeking a way to invalidate the results, alleging widespread wrongdoing without providing evidence.
Speaking in the White House meeting room on Friday about an initiative to cut prescription drug prices, Trump upheld his baseless claim that he was the real winner. “Big Pharma ran millions of dollars in negative ads against me during the campaign, which, by the way, I won,” he told reporters.
“But, you know, we’ll find out. Almost 74 million votes. We had Big Pharma against us. We had the media against us. We had great technology against us. We had a lot of dishonesty against us. “
Biden received nearly 6 million more votes than Trump, but the winner is determined by the electoral college, where each state’s electoral votes, based primarily on population, are awarded to the winner of a state’s popular vote.
Biden leads by 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 as states work to certify their results at least six days before the electoral college meets Dec. 14 to ratify the vote.
Trump’s campaign particularly targets Michigan, which Biden won by 154,000 votes, in hopes that Republicans will manipulate the electoral system.
Both Shirkey and Chatfield have previously denied that they could attempt to reverse Biden’s victory, noting that Michigan law does not allow the legislature to directly select voters or award them to anyone other than the person who received the most votes.
Still, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, told MSNBC television: “It’s incredibly dangerous that they are even entertaining the conversation. This is an embarrassment to the state. “
Earlier this week, two Republican pollsters blocked vote certification in Wayne County, Michigan, where Detroit, a majority black city, is located. They later relented, amid cries of racism, and the results were certified. It later emerged that Trump reached out to pollsters, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, on Tuesday to express gratitude for their support.
On Wednesday, Palmer and Hartmann signed affidavits saying they believed the county vote “should not be certified” after all. But the Michigan secretary of state said they cannot rescind their votes.
Trump’s dominance over the Republican party is such that few prominent figures have spoken again about his scorched earth strategy.
However, Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah and the party’s 2012 presidential candidate, broke ranks on Thursday. He said: “Having failed to present a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy in any court of law, the president has now resorted to open pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and annul the elections. It is difficult to imagine a worse and more undemocratic action on the part of a sitting US president. “
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Republican and Trump supporter, on Friday certified results which showed Biden won the state by just over 12,600 votes after a manual count and audit was performed. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or the courts, or any of the campaigns,” he told reporters.
Trump’s attempts to reverse his defeat through lawsuits and stories have not met with significant success. However, his campaign has not abandoned its offensive in court.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, told an hour-and-a-half news conference Thursday that there are plans to file more lawsuits. He accused Democrats of plotting a “national conspiracy” to steal the elections, referring to China, Cuba, the Clinton Foundation, billionaire George Soros and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, but offered no evidence.
“I know crimes, I can smell them,” said Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, sweating profusely as what appeared to be hair dye ran down his face. “You don’t have to smell this one, I can show you.” He offered no evidence to back up his claims.
Chris Krebs, the Trump administration election official fired last week for comments on the security of the election, tweeted: “That press conference was the most dangerous 1 hour and 45 minutes of television in the history of the United States. And possibly the craziest. “
Celebrating his 78th birthday, Biden, the oldest president-elect of the United States in history, met with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday after spending most of the week with advisers planning their administration. , despite the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with his team, even to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
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