Trump summons Michigan GOP leaders for extraordinary meeting

Full Screen
1 / 3

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - In this May 6, 2020, file photo, Michigan Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, left, and Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield announce a lawsuit to combat the coronavirus pandemic orders at the Capitol building in Lansing, Mich. President Donald Trump summoned Michigan's Republican legislative leaders to the White House for a meeting Friday, Nov. 20, amid a GOP push to overturn the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the battleground state. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

DETROIT – President Donald Trump summoned Michigan's Republican legislative leaders to the White House for an extraordinary meeting Friday amid a long shot GOP push to subvert the democratic process that handed the battleground state to Democrat Joe Biden.

Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Trump invited Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. They agreed to go, according to a state official aware of the leaders’ plans. The two officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing private conversations.

It was not immediately clear what the meeting would be about. Neither Shirkey nor Chatfield commented.

Trump’s campaign is openly floating the notion of trying to get friendly state legislatures to appoint electors who would overturn the will of the voters. If Trump succeeds in convincing Michigan's state board of canvassers not to certify Biden’s victory in the state, state lawmakers could be called on to select electors, but such a brazen move would be unprecedented and possibly illegal. It would be certain to draw a swift legal challenge.

Both Shirkey and Chatfield have indicated that they will not try to overturn Biden’s win.

“Michigan law does not include a provision for the Legislature to directly select electors or to award electors to anyone other than the person who received the most votes,” Shirkey’s spokeswoman said last week. On Nov. 6, Chatfield tweeted: "Whoever gets the most votes will win Michigan! Period. End of story. Then we move on.

Asked at a Lansing news conference about the plan for legislative leaders to visit Trump, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, “I hope they wear masks, and I hope they stay safe.”

“All the meetings in the world, though, can’t take away from the fact that Joe Biden won Michigan by over 150,000 votes,” Whitmer added. “That’s 14 times the margin that Donald Trump won by in 2016. ... So we will be sending a slate of electors that reflects the will of the people of Michigan at the end of this process."