WASHINGTON — Calling President Trump a “bully” who is “undermining democracy,” Michigan’s Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder says he fully expects a state board to certify on Monday that Joe Biden won the election in his state, guaranteeing that its 16 electoral votes will be in the former vice president’s column.
But even after that happens, Snyder said in an interview for the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast, he worries about the long-term impact of Trump’s efforts to persuade the Republican leaders in Michigan’s GOP-controlled Legislature to set aside the election results and select an alternative set of pro-Trump electors.
“What’s troubling through all this is the president’s behavior — and that of the people on his legal team,” Snyder said. “They’re actually undermining democracy with their actions.
“I’m concerned about the damage that’s going to go on for the next several years in terms of misinformation, creating doubts in the minds of his supporters, things like that,” he said. “There’s a lot of damage. President Trump has done terrible things. This man is the divider-in-chief of our nation.”
Snyder’s sharp remarks about the president’s actions may not be surprising to many in his state. Although he served two terms as the state’s Republican governor between 2011 and 2019 — and at one point was mentioned as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election — Snyder broke with Trump this year and endorsed Biden. At the time, Snyder was still facing political heat over his handling of the Flint water crisis.
Still, his comments discounting the chance that his state’s Republican-controlled Legislature might flip the electoral votes — coming as state GOP lawmakers were meeting with the president at the White House — underscored the nearly insurmountable odds facing Trump’s strategists as they seek some avenue to prevent Biden from becoming president.
After the White House meeting, the GOP legislative leaders — state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and state House Speaker Lee Chatfield — seemed to rule out any intervention along the lines of what the president is seeking. They said they were not aware of “any information that would change the outcome of the election” and, “as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors.”
In fact, Snyder emphasized, they would have no choice regardless. Although the U.S. Constitution does say that state legislatures select the electors to the Electoral College, Michigan state law — similar to those in other states — requires the electors to be awarded to whichever candidate the state board of canvassers certifies as the state’s popular-vote winner. “The only course of action is to try to pass a new statute,” he said, adding it would be a futile gesture since the state’s current Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would never sign it. “I don’t believe legally there is anything they can do,” he said.
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Snyder’s comments also came as other key battleground states moved closer to certifying Biden victories. On Monday, the same day Michigan’s board is expected to meet and certify Biden’s win, officials in Arizona and Pennsylvania counties are also required to finalize the results in their jurisdictions. With Georgia already certifying Biden’s victory there, the net result appears to leave no path for the president to delay the outcome — barring some last-ditch intervention by a state or federal judge, which so far none have seemed inclined to do.
As a result, Snyder said, he fully expects Biden to be sworn in as president on Jan. 20 next year. “Let’s get this thing over,” he said.
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