Three GOP Michigan reps back plan to keep President Trump in power

Experts say a plan to keep President Donald Trump in power by blocking the Electoral College certification is doomed, but several Republicans including three from Michigan plan to do so anyway. (Shutterstock photo by Joseph Sohm)

LANSING — Three of Michigan’s congressional Republicans on Monday offered support for a plan to block certification of Electoral College votes this week, an effort experts say is futile but signals their support to lame-duck President Donald Trump.

Newly-elected U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, said in a statement that she has “grave concerns” about the 2020 election, in which Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by 7 million votes nationwide and by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan.

 

“Our constitutional republic will fail if our elections aren’t free, fair, and seen as legitimate by the American people,” said McClain, who won the Thumb-area congressional district by 133,342 votes. 

“If what I see on Wednesday further confirms the concerns voiced to me by folks in the 10th district, I will follow my Oath of Office and vote accordingly.”

U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman of Watersmeet and Tim Walberg of Tipton released a joint statement saying they plan to lodge formal objections during the Electoral College certification process, which could trigger full floor votes in the House and Senate. 

“While the easy answer is ignoring election irregularities — we will not stand idly by without taking every lawfully available option to ensure the outcomes of our elections can be trusted,” Bergman and Walberg said in their statement.

“This includes objecting to the electoral votes from disputed states where there is evidence warranting an investigation.” 

Michigan is among a handful of states where Trump continues to allege widespread voter fraud despite a lack of tangible evidence and court losses. State and local election officials say the election was safe and secure, and a GOP-led legislative inquiry found no merit to conspiracy claims involving Dominion Voting Systems equipment. 

At least 140 House Republicans and 12 Senate Republicans are expected to vote against Electoral College certification on Wednesday, the final and formal step in the presidential election, according to published reports. 

But that is not enough votes to overturn the election in Congress, where moderate Republicans like U.S. Rep. Fred Upton of St. Joseph have recognized Biden’s win and opposed efforts to undermine it. 

“Voters – not judges or politicians – must decide elections,” Upton, the longest-serving member of Michigan’s congressional delegation, said in a statement. 

Related stories:

“These objections would establish a new precedent allowing the Congress to supersede the will of the people. There have been no cases of fraud discovered that would overturn [Biden’s] 154,000 vote victory in Michigan.”

The statements followed a Saturday phone call from Trump and allies to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which the president implored the Georgia elections official to “find 11,780 votes” in his favor in a state which he lost by 11,779 votes. 

In the call, Trump repeated false claims about the Michigan election, saying that "139 percent of the people voted" in Detroit, where voter turnout was actually around 50 percent

The president also claimed that 18,000 "dead people" voted in Michigan. His campaign, in its failed Michigan lawsuit, alleged only one instance of a dead voter, a claim that was quickly debunked by the Secretary of State. Similar claims by supporters have crumbled under scrutiny.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, called the president’s Georgia phone call “disturbing.”

“Asking to ‘find’ a specific number of votes doesn't mean you are interested in a truthful vote count. It means President Trump wants to rig and tamper with an election, which is undemocratic, wrong and illegal,” Kildee wrote in a tweet

Political theater

The Senate and the House of Representatives are set to hold a joint session in the House Chamber at 1 p.m. Wednesday when the president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, will open and present the certificates of the electoral votes. 

According to rules outlined by the Electoral Count Act of 1887, during this time, members of Congress are allowed to object to a state’s slate of electors. 

Earlier Monday, Upton said it is clear that Trump loyalists don’t have enough votes in the House or Senate to block Electoral College certification even if his Republican colleagues proceed with plans to challenge electors from Michigan and other states where Trump has repeatedly alleged widespread voter fraud despite a lack of tangible evidence. 

“There’s nothing that’s going to actually interfere with the electoral counting process and with Joe Biden receiving more than 270 electoral votes and being inaugurated on Jan. 20,” said Jonathan Diaz, legal counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan voting rights group based in Washington, D.C. 

“No matter how much they continue to protest and throw up smoke screens, it's not going to change the outcome.” 

The Republicans’ objections mostly amount to the “theater,” agreed Matt Grossmann, a political science professor and director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.

He said Pence, who on Saturday endorsed an overthrow effort by GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, could try to seat the Michigan Republican Party’s nominated electors who were shut out of the state Capitol last month when Democratic electors voted to certify Biden’s win. 

But that effort would likely fail because Michigan law awards all 16 of the state’s electors to the winner of the statewide popular vote. And Republican leadership in the Michigan Legislature — Senate Majority Mike Shirkey and term-limited House Speaker Lee Chatfield — rejected Trump’s call to appoint their own GOP electors instead. 

Regardless, a group of Republicans in both the House and Senate plan to lodge objections to the Electoral College votes in several states, which “will require multi-hour debate,” Grossmann said. 

Michigan appears to be “high on the list” of potential objections “for no apparent reason” other than the fact Trump won the state in 2016 and is now contesting his 2020 loss here, Grossmann said.

“That obviously puts Republican members in a position where they... have to basically be on the record saying that they disagree with the results,  and for Michigan members in particular, that obviously puts them in a position where they're disagreeing with the results that led to their own elections as well,” Grossmann said. 

Republican divisions

McClain, a businesswoman who has not previously held political office, cruised to victory in the solidly Republican 10th District general election after winning a contested GOP primary to succeed retired U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell of Dryden.

Elected as a Republcan, Mitchell left the party in December over its refusal to accept Biden’s win over Trump. On Monday, Mitchell criticized Trump’s continued pressure campaign in Georgia. 

Donald Trump “ should have ‘found’ the votes the old fashioned way,” Mitchell tweeted Monday.  “You know - governing for the people and campaigning to address issues faced by the people — the majority of the voters and not just his base.”

McClain and other members of the 117th Congress were sworn in Sunday, but the routine process was challenged by second-term U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, who attempted to put fellow Republicans on the spot by urging them not to seat lawmakers from Michigan and five other states where Trump is contesting results. 

"Those representatives were elected through the very same systems — with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials — as were the electors chosen for the president of the United States under the laws of those states, which have become the subject of national controversy," Roy said in a statement.

The certification drama comes less than one month after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a Trump-backed bid to overturn results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia. 

Four Republicans in Congress from Michigan — Bergman, Walberg, Bill Huizenga of Zeeland and John Moolenaar of Midland —  signed a legal brief in support of the failed lawsuit. 

Huizenga, R-Zeeland, told WZZM-TV that he will not object to Michigan's Electoral College results because his office spent “hundreds of hours” investigating the election but did not find “hard evidence” to support the president's claims of systemic fraud in the state. 

However, Huizenga told The Detroit News he is still "open” to hearing any evidence and is "looking forward" to hearing more about election disputes in states like Arizona, which the president is also contesting.

Incoming U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer has acknowledged Biden as the president-elect but called for investigation into various "irregularities and process failures." His office didn't respond to a requet for comment, but he is expected to make a public announcement Tuesday. A spokesperson for Moolenaar didn't respond to a request for comment.

Longtime GOP strategist Greg McNeilly said Republicans are “facing a lot of pressure” to block the vote but  should be "honest with the Trump voters" and "speak truth to power" rather than "follow the whims of a mob.”

“Any Republican that votes to not accept the Electoral College... is doing irreparable harm to themselves and committing an act of aggression against the United States Constitution to which they have sworn an oath before God and their fellow countrymen," said McNeilly, noting that even if there was some instances of election fraud it wasn’t enough to change the results. 

"It is particularly egregious if those people voting that way are Republican, since we believe in federalism — respecting states' rights. To think that our congressional representatives can overturn state-certified elections is about the most anti-conservative proposal one could imagine." 

Even so, Grossmann, the MSU professor, said representatives are unlikely to face significant harm for their votes in Michigan because they don’t face re-election until 2022 and will run in new districts following the 2020 Census.

“Two years is a long time, so I don't expect it to have any major effect, and we don't know what the staying power of Trump will be at this point,” Grossmann said.

Regardless, “the harm is to their brand,” said McNeilly, the GOP strategist. 

“Because any person that votes for this cannot be considered a serious person. They just can't. They may have a title and in a decade from now they may still be in the same office, but some of us will always remember.”

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments

M
Mon, 01/04/2021 - 11:11pm

These people are traitors and should be treated as such! Send them all to Gitmo!

Hypocritical much?
Wed, 01/06/2021 - 3:20pm

Did you say the same thing when democrats did this? THREE TIMES!!
Not only did they spend the last four years freaking out about Trump, they have objected to the certification the last three times a Republican won the presidency.

Don
Sat, 01/09/2021 - 11:13am

The democrats DID not back an armed attack on our country!!!!

Putin won
Tue, 01/12/2021 - 10:17am

The traitors are still planning attacks. What will it take to stop these cult followers?

Shameful GOP
Wed, 01/06/2021 - 4:01pm

Amen! Time to update this story! What do our Michigan Republicans think about Trump and his rioters now?

Don
Sat, 01/09/2021 - 11:14am

Like the ones who were going to kidnaped the governor and kill her the republican in MI are backing the rioters>>> WELL some were republican lawmakers from MI!!!

Sarah
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 8:43am

But these games don't actually KEEP T***** in power, do they? Aren't we looking at a President Nancy Pelosi come Jan 20 if the Republicans keep this up?

Nancy Love
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 11:11am

THAT would be HILARIOUS, interim President Pelosi until we sort this out and agree that Biden won.

John Tiemstra
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 8:58am

Our constitutional republic will fail if our leaders ignore the will of the people as expressed in free and fair elections. President Trump and his minions are making up fables to try to keep him in office. The people have spoken. Joe Biden will be President.

Hiram Earl Fitz...
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 9:07am

In my opinion, the three republication representatives should be indicted for treason.

Don
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 9:09am

Three traitors that what to destroy the USA they need to be recalled!!!

Don
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 9:10am

Our AG needs to charge them with helping trump to take over OUR government

Dot Barnett
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 9:12am

If newly elested Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, has “grave concerns” about the 2020 election, in which Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by 7 million votes nationwide and by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan, perhaps us Michiganers should have grave concerns about her 133,342 vote victory. Same election

Nutty coup d'etat
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 11:15am

No kidding. Stop her steal.

EB
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 9:18am

Republican Jack Bergman, Michigan’s 1st Congressional District Representative, signed an amicus brief supporting the Texas’ Attorney General’s efforts to disenfranchise Michigan’s voters. If the Texas Attorney General had been successful in the US Supreme Court, Michigan’s 2020 general election would have been annulled because of widespread fraud.

Our Michigan election process has many check points, so, for the fraud to work, all these officials would have had to be part of an amazingly well coordinated widespread conspiracy: city, township and county Republican and Democratic clerks and election workers; voting tabulation software companies; the Michigan Secretary of State; the Michigan Attorney General; Republican and Democratic boards of canvasser members at both the county and state levels; the Michigan Governor; and majority Republican Michigan State House and Senate legislators, who voted to accept the election results.

Bergman’s amicus brief was seditious. A favorable SCOTUS decision would have not only overturned the election results for the presidency, but also every single election result in the state and would have invalidated Michigan governance at every level until a new election is conducted that merits Jack Bergman’s approval.

Will his sedition be repeated January 6th? Will Jack Bergman vote in Congress to throw out Michigan’s Electoral College Electors and substitute his own electors?

Jake K
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 9:42am

So because people question the validity of certain election results...perhaps rightfully so...they are "backing a plan?" Nothing is wrong with challenging the election. There are enough questions to justify an investigation. Our own SOS Benson spent over $11 million to promote the Democratic platform for voting...obviously targeting those who would be voting Democratic. It's time to move forward and work towards preventing destruction of our society as we know it today. Controlling outlandish liberal Democratic actions is more important than keeping Trump in office.

middle of the mit
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 10:50pm

Jake,
There is nothing wrong with challenging an election..............unless you are sowing discord while doing it.

Questions mean nothing. Why? How?

I saw Jake K stuffing ballots into the "luggage under the black sheathed table". Should that be looked into? I will also sign an After David saying I believe I saw you do it. Was I actually at the TCF center? NO. Not anywhere near it. Did I see it online? Maybe. I just have to sign an Affidavit saying that is what I saw. That is all conservatives did. Do you think I will be held to the same standards that our legislators are held to.....or will I be held to a higher standard of LAW?

My bet................and yours? I would be behind bars.................and Mike Flynn..............who said if he did half of what Hillary Clinton did.........he would be in jail................and then when it came out he did 10X what Hillary "supposedly did............but Darryl Issa Nor Trey Gowdy could come up with proof? You still claimed victory..............and the press gave it to ya!

What happened to the Trumps E-mails? They were reported as being worse than Hillary at the first..............th.........e........n.................th.........e..............y...............d...r....o...p....p...e.......d...........o.................f.............................................................

Press?

Could you start pressing? Both sides?

Cat
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 10:08am

Good, they've declared their beliefs. We know who not to vote for or support in the future.

Gary Lea
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 10:45am

Keri, the bogus forensics report you alluded to was produced by Allied Security Operations Group whose founder, Russell Ramsland Jr., was but one recipient out of a total of twenty-one people who were sent 'cease-and-desist' letters by Dominion Voting Systems, according to the Law & Crime website: https://lawandcrime.com/2020-election/lawyers-for-dominion-voting-system...
In my opinion, manufactured conspiracies, also relying upon manufactured doubt have at their core no basis of fact.

LMAO
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 11:01am

Anyone know Lee Chatfield's phone number? Does he live in Edison county? Trump's campaign tweeted the wrong number. I wanted to call him and thank him for his years of comic relief.

Michigan native bombarded with calls after Trump campaign mistakenly shares phone number
https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/04/trump-michigan-chat...

Gonna miss Trump and Chatfield, good times!

Gary Powell
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 11:24am

These MI Reps are seditious traitors to our country. They know it and they don’t care.
They have been pushing the idea of a “rigged election” since March, knowing that, if repeated enough times, people will begin to either believe them or have some doubt. Doubt is all Trump and Bergman need to destroy our democracy.
BTW why isn’t Bergman calling his own election into question? He was on the same ballot as Trump, so according to his traitorous way of thinking, his election is tainted as well.
Called his office, but no answer. Typical of Bergman.

Nancy Werner
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 11:48am

I live in Tim Walberg's district. If you believe there was widespread fraud in the Michigan elections such that you believe Trump was re-elected, then you were illegitimately sworn in and the only respectable thing to do is to resign your position so that a "fair" election can take place. When you start calling into question the legitimacy of a free election, you stumble into forbidden constitutional grounds. It's then you stand up and be an American, not a Republican. You can't have it both ways, Tim. It's either true or false. Grow up.

Arjay
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:37pm

There is only one question to ask that would make the election illegitimate, and that is were there any last minute changes to process that were not put into law by the various States' legislatures. Examples of this would be deviations in how late absentee or mail in ballots would be accepted, changes to how ballots were counted in the presence of election verifiers, changes to verification of postmarks, all those sorts of things which the legislatures should have codified into law. A hint of this came when Justice Alito warned Pennsylvania to segregate ballots received after the official close of their polls. I think there is enough of this stuff that went on is a few select states that if proven, and it wouldn't take too much to prove, would invalidate a portion of ballots in those states. TV news has shown the presence and non-presence of bar codes on ballots in the same location. If that is codified into law, then those ballots could be declared invalid. You probably won't find massive differences in ballots, but just enough to be "death by a 1000 cuts". From what I have seen and heard on various new agencies, there is probably enough out there to merit a further investigation.

Now some may say the courts already refused to look at this, or ballots were counted multiple times. If you count the same stack of ballots multiple times, and invalid ballots are in the stack, of course you will get the same answer. And of course you will hear many comments against all this, because I suspect the the readership of this "non-partisan" newsletter is highly skewed toward one particular party.

middle of the mit
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 10:33pm

Arjay,
Burden of proof is on the accuser.

{{ I think there is enough of this stuff that went on is a few select states that if proven, and it wouldn't take too much to prove, would invalidate a portion of ballots in those states. }}}

Show your proof. Your side has had over 60 tries in FRONT of a Judge. They REFUSED to show evidence, even when asked if they were claiming fraud. IF I had proof, and I KNEW there was fraud? I WOULD SHOW IT. Or I wouldn't make the claim.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/lou-dobbs-fact-check-election-cl...
OOOPs! Seems someone doesn't want to be sued...............doesn't it? Why wouldn't they want a law suit............if what they "believe" is True?

As to changes in the election? If they were passed by the legislature, you know.......the same people you want to take over MY absentee ballot? Then according to your own philosophy...........it's all good.

The courts NEVER refused to hear or see the evidence. In FACT the Judges begged the litigants to show proof. They refused. And that is why FOX News, OANN, and Newsmax ran ads saying what they were saying about voting machines being wrong was wrong of them. They didn't want to pay for a lawsuit they would lose.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/lou-dobbs-fact-check-election-cl...

By the by.................what you were crying about in the COVID plan? Those weren't in the plan. They combined the COVID plan with the Budget that Republicans passed. What you complaining about? That was in the budget part............NOT the COVID part.

Stop watching or listening to just Trump media. Otherwise you might end up like Alex Jones. But even him and Tucker Carlson won't go in front of a Judge and tell the Judge they are reporting the Truth........AKA...............Veritas.

They tell the Judges that their listeners all KNOW they are spewing opinion and hyperbole. Do ya? Do you know that is what they are doing? They tell Judges that. Why won't tell you that? Because they can't lose their license to broadcast if they lie to you..........but they can if they lie to a Judge?

Short memories
Wed, 01/06/2021 - 1:57pm

Democrats are absolutely freaking out abut the fact that some Republicans are planning to object to the certification of Joe Biden by the Electoral College.
Not only did they spend the last four years freaking out about Trump, they have objected to the certification the last three times a Republican won the presidency.

Anonymous
Tue, 01/12/2021 - 10:35am

Looks like you posted this before Trump's seditious mob's failed coup d'etat. Hope you have since changed your mind. Americans are freaking out about an unhinged despot promoting continued violence remaining in charge of our country for even a minute longer.

No one above law
Wed, 01/06/2021 - 5:06pm

Remember all the names of the Republicans complicit in this sedition, destruction of public property.

A Yooper
Sat, 01/09/2021 - 9:46am

They represent the worst of America.
Bergman couldn’t find his rear end if he was. surrounded by mirrors.
What a pathetic minion.

Don
Sat, 01/09/2021 - 11:12am

These traitors need to be recalled And IF she can the MI AG needs to charge them with helping the armed attack on OUR capital!!!

Don
Sat, 01/09/2021 - 11:19am

A big problem is that facebook is letting trump supporters keep posting lies and that they are planning a armed attacked on Jan 20!!!! Like before Jan 6 attack plans were made through facebook!!!! They need to be suit for helping this armed attacked on our capital!!!1

Vince Caruso
Sat, 01/09/2021 - 6:10pm

The current end of the totally outrageous GerryMandering by the GOP (Grand Oligark Party) in Michigan will spell the end of these radical right-wing Fascists, and other supporters of Trump in Michigan.
Long overdue and antithetical to a Democracy! Good riddances! Thanks to all who worked hard to stop GerryMandering by the GOP in Michigan and other states.
These folks have "Blood on Their Hands" and need to be removed ASAP!