Yesterday, Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration who has to write a letter to authorize the president-elect’s transition team access to resources to co-ordinate and work with the existing people in government to ensure a smooth transition, finally issued the letter. It appears that she had the power to do this without getting prior approval from Trump and her not doing so for three weeks after the election was over when it was clear that Joe Biden had won had resulted in much criticism. She finally issued a letter that was somewhat whiny and self-serving, saying that she had decided on her own to issue the letter and that she had not been pressured by Trump to not do so before nor to do so now.
Here's the full letter from Murphy to Biden: pic.twitter.com/DJ4SFLzrfP
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) November 23, 2020
Shortly thereafter, Trump sent out a tweet implying that he had authorized the letter though that did not mean that he was conceding the election. It is clear that he is trying to put the best face on Murphy’s act, to try and show that he is sill in charge and calling the shots.
I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
…fight, and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
On another front, the state of Michigan, where Biden defeated Trump by a margin of 154,188 votes, turned out to be a tease for Trump as it repeatedly held out hope that they would go along with his plan to refuse to certify the results and that the state legislature (that is controlled by Republicans) would throw out the election results and choose electoral college voters who favored Trump. The way that unfolded reveals how far the Trump campaign was willing to go to subvert the democratic process.
The plan hinged on the fact that under state law, each of the 83 counties has a Board of Canvassers that is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans to ensure that the certification of results is bipartisan. In addition, the entire state has a similar four-member Board of Canvassers to certify the results from all the counties. In the election, Biden won Wayne County, where the city of Detroit with its majority black population is, by a huge margin. So the Trump plan was to sue to try and throw out that county’s results. But that suit was defeated. Then the two Republicans in that county’s board refused to certify the results, earning them a warm phone call from Trump. But it also earned them plenty of anger from the people in the county and elsewhere, and they reversed course and certified the results. But that must have earned them the ire of Trump and his supporters because they then tried to reverse course yet again and rescind their approval but were told it was too late.
Then Trump invited a delegation of Republican leaders of the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives all the way to the White House for a meeting. This must have been an attempt to see if they would go along with the plan to overturn the election results and it too aroused widespread condemnation. After the meeting the leaders returned to Michigan and said that they had seen nothing that made them question the results. If they were not asked to change the results, it is unclear what the point of their trip was.
In an even more brazen show of naked racism, there was a suggestion by the Wayne County Republican county chair to throw out just the votes of the people in Detroit, a city that is 78% black and voted for Biden by 94%. These people are shameless.
Singling out Detroit reflects a broader legal strategy by the Trump campaign to challenge votes in heavily Democratic cities with large concentrations of Black voters, like Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. Though the Trump campaign has produced no evidence of voter fraud, it is clearly signaling through its strategy that such fraud can only be committed in Democratic areas with large numbers of Black voters.
“Really the themes that we see, that persist, are this: Black people are corrupt, Black people are incompetent, and Black people can’t be trusted,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said last week. “That’s the narrative that is continually espoused by the Trump campaign and their allies in these lawsuits.”
The final hope for Trump must have been that the state Board of Canvassers would block certification.
At the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, Republican board member Norman D. Shinkle said he has many concerns, ranging from election equipment used in Michigan to the absentee voting process, to transparency issues, and he is leaning toward seeking a delay in certification. Shinkle’s wife, Mary, was a Republican poll challenger at the TCF Center in Detroit and signed an affidavit used by the Trump campaign in a federal lawsuit that has since been withdrawn.
It would take Shinkle’s vote plus one other to delay certification. The other Republican member, Aaron Van Langevelde, has not said how he plans to vote. Van Langevelde, an attorney and former assistant prosecutor in Branch County, works for state House Republicans, whose leader, Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, flew to Washington, D.C., on Friday with a handful of other GOP lawmakers to meet at the White House with Trump.
But Monday afternoon, they voted 3-0 to certify the results with Van Langevelde voting in favor and Shinkle abstaining. Van Langevelde rejected appeals by Republicans to delay certification until an audit of the votes was done. So Michigan has slammed the door in the face of Trump, just like Pennsylvania did the day before.
In a new twist, the Trump campaign is getting sued by a group of black voters, urging the court to stop Trump from pressuring Michigan officials. Now that the state has certified the results, that case likely becomes moot.
TGAP Dad says
Fun fact: I aim personally acquainted with Norm Shinkle. I grew up in the same town Lambertville/Temperance Michigan -- a suburban community right on the Ohio state line. I actually helped him on a campaign for a local official in the 78 campaign season, for school board, I believe. If there was going to be anyone on the board of canvassers to go this way, he is the person whom I would most expect to. When I knew his younger self, he was always a bit of a tool -- pandering to the smarter party apparatchiks, and following them like a loyal cocker spaniel. He was elected to the state senate in the 80s, where rumor has it he immediately and excitedly wanted to know when payday was, and how much money he gets to run his office. I suspect the board of canvassers move was an attempt to insinuate himself into the Trump money train.
Pierce R. Butler says
After they met with Trump, Chatfield, Lilly, and their posse went to the Trump Hotel in DC and quaffed a $500+ bottle of champagne, maskless.
Pictures went around about this on social media; their Covid-19struck constituents -- 53 deaths that day in Michigan -- were not amused.
Who Cares says
Van Langevelde is already being called a traitor for not abusing his position but sticking to the charter given to the board of canvassers.
Now for the ‘fun’ part. Hours before the vote in Michigan was certified the Trump campaign came out with that they scored two BIG wins. One was that Michigan was not going to rush certifying an obviously fraudulent election held with callous disregard for the law. The other that they’d gotten an expedited review of their appeal of their Pennsylvania case that was trying to throw out 1/3 to all of the votes.
That said the maga crowd is getting ever more unhinged as each and every prediction of a win gets shot down by reality. Calls to brace for the obvious meltdown and murder spree/fraud/whatever that the left is going to go on when Trump gets his second term, Sydney Powell wasn’t fired she left since she needed to prepare (as a military lawyer) for a tribunal on treason against all the people that have been working to deprive Trump of his rightful position as duly elected president of the United States (seeing that the people thinking that think that only votes for Trump aren’t fraudulent I’d say dictator or emperor instead of president)
And that is some of the saner stuff I’m reading at the moment.
More and more this whole thing is looking like a bad parody of a Monty Python skit.
Few Americans realise how weird and antidemocratic it appears to foreigners that the Democratic and Republican parties have successfully insinuated themselves into law like this. Many seem to believe that the whole world views the USA as the pinnacle of democratic righteousness to which all others must aspire, whereas in reality, anyone who knows much about electoral systems around the world sees that the American system is dangerously rickety and seriously flawed in multiple ways (electoral college, unbalanced representation in the Senate, politicised judges, redistricting done by the party currently with a majority, unlimited spending by individuals and corporations…). Maybe the Trump attempted coup will finally change this complacency.
Note: I live and vote in the UK, which is almost as bad -- maybe even worse, given the existence of the House of Lords!
Who Cares says
Things won’t change. The system as is benefits the people in power and not enough of them will agree to losing part of that power. Worse is that as it is even if they’d agree the US is too polarized at this point.
Pierce R. Butler says
KG @ # 5: Many seem to believe that the whole world views the USA as the pinnacle of democratic righteousness to which all others must aspire…
Some of those in the upper echelons seem aware of this, or at least knew it in past generations. Even in situations where the US had complete latitude to reshape “client” governments, most clearly in Japan after 1945, nowhere did the US attempt to transplant anything like what our Founders cobbled together in 1787.
the Democratic and Republican parties have successfully insinuated themselves into law like this.
Each time i see something like that I still have trouble comprehending it. Then one starts to grasp why the US is a two party state. The parties are quasi-governmental organizations.