LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey on Tuesday sought to downplay his recent meeting with Donald Trump amid the president’s efforts to challenge Joe Biden’s win in Michigan, saying Republicans told Trump that state law does not give legislators a say in awarding electoral votes.
Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield were among seven GOP lawmakers who met with Trump at the White House last week, days before the state elections board certified Biden’s victory and closed the door to any longshot, legally suspect bid to not award Michigan’s 16 electoral votes to the former vice president.
“It was a very innocuous meeting. It was high on expectations and low on results,” Shirkey told The Associated Press.
At one point, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani - who called in - repeated allegations he had made at a news conference the day before regarding votes in the Democratic stronghold of Wayne County, Shirkey said.
“Once Speaker Chatfield and I made it abundantly clear that our laws are very specific, very clear, no room for ambiguity, basically that was the end of the conversation once we went through that, as it relates to the election,” he said. “There’s just not any room in our laws for the Legislature to have a part in that.”
He said he was in his workshop taking off his hunting clothes last Wednesday when Trump called to invite him to the White House.
“You get the president of the United States calling you on your personal phone and he asks you to come visit him, I’m going. I don’t care who it is,” Shirkey said of the trip, which received heavy scrutiny. He reiterated that the delegation asked for additional federal coronavirus relief funding but said Trump and chief of staff Mark Meadows - while receptive to the request - were not confident about finding common ground with Congress.
Trump and his allies have focused on alleged irregularities in Wayne County - home to Detroit - where Biden crushed him with 332,000 votes on the way to a 154,000-vote, or 2.8-percentage point, victory statewide. Judges have uniformly rejected their claims of fraud in Michigan and other states.
“Wayne County didn’t determine the outcome for the presidential race in Michigan. It was Kent County and Oakland County that did,” Shirkey said, referring to the Grand Rapids area and the suburbs north of Detroit. They swung more toward Biden and away from Trump than in 2016.
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