WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump, failing in his legal challenges to vote counts that show President-elect Joe Biden won the presidential election, has invited key Republican lawmakers from the battleground Midwestern state of Michigan to the White House on Friday.
It was not clear what Trump might say to the Michigan lawmakers or how many of them might make the trip to Washington.
Trump’s lawyers on Thursday abandoned their legal challenge to the outcome in Michigan. The unusual invitation to the state lawmakers comes as Trump’s campaign legal team is pursuing various avenues to have results overturned in key states Trump lost.
Biden won the balloting in Michigan by more than 150,000 votes and appears headed to collecting the state’s 16 electoral votes in the Electoral College. Michigan’s electoral votes are a key segment of the more than 270-vote majority Biden has unofficially amassed in the 538-member Electoral College, which determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections, not the national popular vote.
If Michigan’s board of canvassers do not certify Biden’s victory in the state by Monday, as would be routine, the Republican-controlled state legislature could be asked to step in and name Trump supporters as the state’s 16 electors to thwart the majority will of the state’s voters.
Such an attempt would be unprecedented in modern U.S. political annals.
Earlier this week, Michigan’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said that Biden is the president-elect. Shirkey said that any attempt to award Michigan’s electoral votes to Trump is “not going to happen,” according to the news outlet Bridge Michigan.
As Trump trails in the vote count in several key states more than two weeks after the November 3 election, his lawyers have filed numerous lawsuits alleging vote fraud and vote-counting irregularities.
A handful of the cases are still pending, but judges have dismissed the rest, leaving Trump facing the prospect of becoming the third U.S. president in the past four decades to lose his reelection bid after a single term in the White House. Biden’s inauguration is set for January 20.
Trump has appeared in public only a handful of times since the election and instead has posted dozens of Twitter comments from the White House claiming he won the election and that the vote was rigged against him.
A vote recount in the Southern state of Georgia that ended late Wednesday narrowed Biden’s advantage from slightly more 14,000 votes to 12,781. But Biden is still on track to win the state’s 16 electoral votes when the vote is certified.
Michigan and Georgia are two of the five states — along with Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona — that Trump captured in his upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 but that Biden reclaimed for the Democratic ticket.
Biden appears to have a 306-232 advantage in the Electoral College, where the voting is set for December 14. As such, Trump would have to overturn Biden’s vote count lead in a combination of several states in order to claim a second term.