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Ahead Of Reported Trump Meeting, Whitmer Urges Republican Legislators To “Put Country Over Party"

Michigan Executive Office of the Governor
Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference Thursday, November 19, 2020, in Lansing, Mich.

Following reports that Republican leaders from the Michigan state legislature would fly to Washington Friday to meet with President Donald Trump, Governor Gretchen Whitmer implored them to put country over party.

The president is refusing to concede while continuing to make unsupported claims about widespread fraud. This is despite the fact that his campaign has lost most of its legal challenges in the state. 

The campaign voluntarily dismissed their largest lawsuit Thursday morning improperly citing that “The Wayne County board of county canvassers met and declined to certify the results of the presidential election.” 

In fact, two Republican canvassers reversed course in a Tuesday night meeting. After an initial deadlocked result, they certified the results citing a deal that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson would conduct an audit, correcting out of balance precincts the Republicans took issue with. 

However, by Wednesday the Republicans had signed affidavits saying they wanted to rescind their votes—an option a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office said “there is no legal mechanism for.” 

Later Thursday morning it was reported by the Associated Press that President Trump reached out to a canvasser on Tuesday night and that Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and outgoing Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) would travel to Washington on Friday to meet with the President. 

In a press conference, Governor Whitmer said all the meetings in the world can’t change the fact that the people of Michigan voted for Joe Biden. 

“I implore people to put country over party, respect the law, and see through that the will of the people is reflected in our electors and not play games with this fundamental part of our democracy,” said Whitmer. 

With results from all 83 of Michigan’s counties tallied, Joe Biden has over 150,000 more votes than the president—roughly 14 times Trump’s 2016 margin of victory in the state. 

Whitmer also continued calls for the federal government to allocate more CARES Act and unemployment money to the states saying her message for the president is, “stop spending energy to mislead on what happened in this election and spend it on a real COVID relief package.” 

After joining a bipartisan group of governors on a call with President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris Thursday Whitmer said: 

“We need a COVID relief bill more than anything. The people of Michigan, the people of Pennsylvania, the people of Idaho—every person in this country is depending on our federal government to step up here to find some common ground and to get it done.” 

The Governor noted she sent a letter to President Donald Trump and U.S. Senate leadership urging them to pass additional funding. She also called on Republicans in the state legislature to extend pandemic unemployment benefits past the end of December.

Whitmer and the state’s Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, also urged Michiganders to stay home for Thanksgiving and avoid gathering with people outside of their immediate household. 

Khaldun said the state has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States falling behind only Texas, California, and Illinois. 

She urged residents to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings. 

“And at the rates we are seeing in the state it is very likely that if you are gathering for Thanksgiving the virus will also be around the table with you,” said Khaldun. 

The state reported more than 7,500 new coronavirus cases Thursday and 61 deaths. Khaldun says on average, Michigan hospitals are 79% full.

Abigail Censky reported on Politics & Government at WKAR from 2018 to 2021. Now, she reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette and edits for The Catalyst Newspaper.
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