Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com, Michigan.gov
Though Michigan state Senate Majority leader Mike Shirkey has insisted that his recent — and controversial — White House meeting with President Donald Trump was nothing nefarious, he later admitted that he was "expecting" Trump would ask him and his colleagues to interfere in the election.
Shirkey made the comments on Tuesday on WJR's Paul W. Smith Show
Shirkey has repeatedly downplayed the meeting, releasing a statement
saying that discussing COVID-19 relief for Michigan was the main focus, and that the election was a minor item. He has said that the meeting was being cast as sinister by protesters and reporters, who "mobbed" him at the airport, and said that he would have taken the meeting if any president invited him. He had just gotten back from a hunting trip when he got the call to come to the White House, he said.
However, the meeting came as Trump and his lawyers were actively trying to overturn the results of the election in several battleground states, including Michigan. When WJR host Smith asked Shirkey if Trump asked him to "intercede" in the election, Shirkey said he did not, but admitted that he and the six other Republicans from Michigan's House and Senate who attended the meeting suspected he would.
"In fact, we were expecting something potentially like that," Shirkey said. "And I was very delighted, and so were my colleagues when we left, that all he did is inquire about our processes, and we just explained what they were."
That raises the question, though: If all Trump wanted to do was ask about Michigan election law, why wouldn't he just have one of his lawyers look it up? You don't need to summon seven lawmakers to travel by air during a pandemic to do that. And if Shirkey thought Trump might ask him to intercede, why even go in the first place? This is the same President that got impeached over demanding quid pro quo from Ukraine.
Nevertheless, Shirkey maintained that the lawmakers promised that they would not interfere with the results of the election and follow the law.
"He inquired about Michigan election laws and we explained to him how they work," Shirkey said. "And he was convinced that there's nothing we can do. The law is the law, and we made it very clear that we're going to follow it."
Shirkey said the lawmakers met with Trump for about an hour and a half. According to Shirkey, nobody else was present in the Oval Office except for Trump's chief of staff, though Rudy Giuliani joined via a conference call to repeat information from a bizarre press conference
he held earlier.
Shirkey also characterized Trump as easily "distracted." At one point, Trump left the room to go attend to a sculpture unveiling in the Rose Garden, leaving the lawmakers alone for several minutes. It could be that Trump wanted to ask about doing a coup, but simply forgot about it.
"He's just like he's on TV," Shirkey said. "He's full of energy."
Shirkey maintains that Trump's concerns about the election were valid, pointing to issues discovered with the "chain of custody" of election ballots. He also noted that the Michigan Board of State Canvassers made a unanimous, bipartisan vote to ask the state Legislature to investigate Michigan's voting process.
"I believe this may end up being one of Trump's legacy issues," Shirkey said.
You can listen to the full interview here
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