Donald Trump was accused of “appalling” and “pathetic” behaviour by Joe Biden’s campaign legal adviser yesterday for inviting Republican lawmakers from Michigan to the White House just days before its election result certification is due.
The US president was expected to meet at least two senior Republicans from the swing state’s legislature as he made a controversial intervention before the state certifies Mr Biden’s win there on Monday.
With the Trump campaign’s lawsuits being knocked back by courts, the president appears to be turning to political rather than legal routes to pursue his unproven claim that he was the real winner in this month’s election, despite vote counts showing the opposite.
Addressing reporters yesterday about changes to drug price rules, Mr Trump repeated his insistence that he won the election, saying in passing of the campaign “which I won, by the way”.
His latest drive appears to be pursuing the dubious idea that if certain battleground states do not have their results certified then Republican legislatures there can appoint electors who will nominate Mr Trump for the presidency.
The approach is based on the idiosyncrasies of the US electoral system. Strictly speaking, it is ‘electors’ from states who gather in Washington DC next month and nominate the president, rather than voter, but the move would likely be decried as undemocratic. Electors by precedent should pick the candidate which won most votes in their state.
With almost all votes counted, Mr Biden, the Democratic president-elect, won Michigan by more than 150,000 votes and a margin of almost 3 percentage points. It is a much bigger margin than Mr Trump’s win there in 2016, when he carried the state by 10,000 votes.