White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday denied that President TrumpDonald John TrumpRomney on Trump election tactics: ‘Difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action’ by president New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include writeoffs: report Biden promises federal government will pay for National Guard coronavirus work: ‘That should be paid for’ MORE had invited two top Michigan officials to the White House as part of an “advocacy meeting,” even as the president and his allies openly push to overturn the election results in the state.
McEnany during her first press briefing in six weeks confirmed that Trump will meet with officials from the Michigan state legislature at the White House, but she declined to divulge details about the nature of the meeting.
“He will be meeting later on,” she said. “This is not an advocacy meeting. There will be no one from the campaign there.”
“He routinely meets with lawmakers from all across the country,” she added.
Despite McEnany’s attempts to portray the meeting as run of the mill, there are indications that it is part of a broader effort to undermine the results in Michigan, where President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRomney on Trump election tactics: ‘Difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action’ by president Biden promises federal government will pay for National Guard coronavirus work: ‘That should be paid for’ House committee chairs demand briefing from GSA head on presidential transition MORE won by more than 140,000 votes.
The president reached out on Tuesday night to officials in Wayne County, Michigan, who had sought to block the certification of votes there. The effort by those officials brought calls of racism from Detroit’s mayor given the number of votes by Black Americans that might have been overturned.
Trump then invited Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and state House Speaker Lee Chatfield to the White House. The meeting has raised concerns among watchdogs and lawmakers who view it as a brazen attempt to influence election officials and push for pro-Trump electors to be appointed in Michigan.
“This goes beyond partisan politics and it’s an attempt to subvert our democracy and undermine the will of Michigan voters,” Rep. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellHouse Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Cedric Richmond’s next move: ‘Sky’s the limit’ if Biden wins MORE (D-Mich.) told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.
Shirkey told a local news outlet earlier this week that an electoral coup in the state is “not going to happen.” He was met with jeers and chants of “certify the results” upon landing at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C.
Trump and members of his legal team have zeroed in on a long-shot bid to overturn the election results in Michigan and other states where Biden has been projected as the winner. The strategy has focused on discounting large numbers of votes in urban areas like Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Those areas are Democratic strongholds and home to high percentages of Black voters.