As the U.S. Electoral College made it official — again — that outgoing United States President Donald Trump had lost his bid for re-election on December 14 2020, footage posted online showed an attempt to overturn the results with a group of illegitimate “electors” in Michigan.
A group of right-wing operatives were spotted attempting to enter the state Capitol in Lansing portraying themselves as “electors,” as seen in footage posted by reporter Riley Beggin:
They said that they were the Republican electors there to cast their vote for president. State police declined to let them enter the building or leave votes offered in a manila envelope pic.twitter.com/rNVIwc5ZXC
— Riley Beggin (@rbeggin) December 14, 2020
Beggin later identified Republican Reps. Matt Maddock and Daire Rendon as the elected officials aiding the fraudulent “electors.”
The operatives were turned back because, as mentioned, they are not electors; since President-Elect Joe Biden received more votes in Michigan than any other candidate — making him the state’s popular vote winner — he won the state’s sixteen Electoral College votes, meaning that every actual elector already in the building had already been elected by the state Democratic Party.
The stunt came the same day that anti-immigration White House staffer Stephen Miller told Fox News that a slate of “alternate electors” would be sent to various states:
Stephen Miller says Trump electors will be voting and sending results to Congress.
(They'll be worthless because they won't have the seals of the state Secretaries of State, though) pic.twitter.com/B9pKXqYGIa
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) December 14, 2020
The capitol building was closed not only because of health precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but because, as the Detroit Free Press reported, state police warned that the building was the subject of “credible threats of violence.”
State Republican Rep. Gary Eisen added to the tension surrounding the procedure when he alluded to the attempted incursion during a radio interview, as the Detroit News reported:
Eisen said earlier there was a possible “Hail Mary” for Republicans to try Monday as Democratic electors convene at the state Capitol to cast their votes for President-elect Joe Biden. He didn’t specify what the “Hail Mary” attempt would be during the interview.
“Can you assure me that this is going to be safe day in Lansing, nobody’s going to get hurt?” radio host Paul Miller asked Eisen at the end of an 11-minute interview.
“No,” he responded. “I don’t know because what we’re doing today is uncharted. It hasn’t been done.”
But during the radio interview, Eisen described what would occur on Monday in Lansing as a “historic event” and said it “will be all over the news later on.”
In a follow-up statement later, Eisen still endorsed the fake electors, saying they intended “to participate in our democracy peacefully.” He was stripped of his committee assignments.
By comparison, Michigan’s Republican lawmakers were highly critical of Democratic Rep. Cynthia Johnson earlier in the month when she posted a video denouncing failed presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani and warning supporters of the outgoing president, “warning to you Trumpers. Be careful. Walk lightly.” Johnson, too, was stripped of her committee assignments.
The “electors” stunt was the latest right-wing attempt to gin up disinformation after Trump’s resounding loss to Joe Biden. Michigan was also the site of right-wing protests targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her efforts to stop the pandemic, to the point that members of a white “militia” gang used Facebook to attempt to carry out a plan to kidnap and execute her.