On Thursday, two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers attempted to un-certify the vote of hundreds of thousands of Black citizens in Detroit after Donald Trump reached out from the White House to directly interfere in tallying the election results. Trump did not stop there. He also contacted the Republican heads of both the Michigan state House and Senate, and invited them to come visit him for a little chat about how things were going.
On Friday, Michigan Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey answered Trump’s call. As they were chatting, Trump’s legal team was literally calling for the vote to be overturned in all swing states, and for legislators like Chatfield and Shirkey to seat a slate of electors who would return Trump to office, no matter what the voters said. But as the Michigan legislators emerged from their meeting with Trump, they insisted that there was no reason to be concerned about democracy getting a shiv in the back. In fact, they claimed that they didn’t even talk to Trump about the election, and spent their time insisting that the state needed more money to fight COVID-19. Chatfield and Shirkey then made a statement that they would “follow the law and the normal process” to seat Michigan’s electors.
Except … that makes what happened next seem pretty damn strange.
What happened next is that the two Michiganders did not hustle back to their home state. Instead, Chatfield spent the night at Trump’s D. C. hotel, sleeping off what appeared to be a big celebration.
If all Michigan’s legislators achieved in the day was not talking about the election, and not getting anything from Trump. Then …. WTF? This little coda to yesterday’s statement all about their “faith in the process” and “simple truths” is very, very not comforting.
Also, who covered the cost of that champagne? Who paid for those rooms? If it was Donald Trump, that’s definitely not a good look. If it was Michigan taxpayers, that is also not a good look.
The best possible outcome is that Chatfield wasted time and money on a pointless expedition to put some money in Trump’s pocket through his hotel. The worst possible outcome … is pretty awful.
Concerning the reassuring statement from Chatfield and Shirkey, Trump tweeted on Saturday morning that it is “… much different than reported by the media” while repeating claims that “we will show massive and unprecedented fraud!”
The question isn’t whether Trump is lying. Trump is alway lying. The question is what was actually discussed between Trump and the Michigan legislators, and what if any arrangements were reached.