President Donald Trump’s hopes of reversing his electoral defeat hung by a thread on Monday as Michigan and Pennsylvania sought to move forward with certification of results, while President-elect Joe Biden braced for appoint the members of its new administration.
Trump, a Republican, lost both states of the battlefield in the Nov. 3 vote, but refused to admit defeat and is waging a legal battle to overturn the results there and in other close races at across the country.
Trump’s efforts to prevent Biden, a Democrat, from taking office on Jan.20 will likely be doomed if officials confirm Biden is the winner of the votes in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Biden defeated Trump in Michigan by more than 150,000 votes, or nearly 3 percentage points, and the Election Prospecting Committee is required to validate the count. But it’s not clear whether the process will work as the law dictates when the board meets on Monday.
A Republican on the evenly split party board suggested he was in favor of delaying certification due to technical irregularities that could have affected a few hundred votes in a county. The Trump campaign has suggested that the irregularities point to widespread fraud.
An impasse would likely force the case to state appeals courts, where an order would be sought to compel the council to discharge its duty. If the members refuse, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has the power to replace them. Monday is also the deadline in Pennsylvania for counties to report their certified counts to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat. Boockvar would then certify the results on behalf of the state within days. Biden won Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes.
Voters in each state will meet as an “electoral college” on December 14 to formally select the next president. Biden won 306 electoral votes, 36 over the 270 threshold needed to win.
Biden, working in his home state of Delaware, continued with his transition plans despite the lack of cooperation from the current administration. Ron Klain, the new White House head of state, said on Sunday that Biden would announce his first Cabinet picks on Tuesday. Antony Blinken to be named U.S. Secretary of State, someone close to the transition team said on Sunday, raising a trusted and trusted aide to Biden who will work to help defeat Trump’s “America First” foreign policy .
Blinken’s appointment makes another longtime Biden aide with a background in foreign policy, Jake Sullivan, the top candidate for the post of US national security adviser. Biden chose fellow veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who held a prominent diplomatic post in the Obama administration, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, media reported Sunday. Biden also said last week that he had chosen a Secretary of the Treasury and would announce the person as the Thanksgiving holiday on November 26 approaches. Former Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen would be the best candidate.
The Trump campaign remains focused on an increasingly desperate quest to delay certification of election results in multiple states, an effort that has generally ended in failure. He suffered another blow on Saturday when a Pennsylvania federal judge dismissed a lawsuit, saying it was not within the court’s power to violate the Constitution.
Trump’s campaign also filed a petition for another recount in Georgia, which on Friday certified results showing Biden narrowly won that state, a long-standing Republican stronghold in the presidential election. While most Republicans continue to publicly support Trump’s efforts or remain silent, a growing number implore him to concede the election and help transition to the Biden administration.
More than 100 former Republican national security officials on Monday demanded in a published letter that party leaders denounce Trump’s refusal to concede the election, calling it a dangerous and undemocratic attack on U.S. institutions.
“By encouraging President Trump’s delaying tactics or by remaining silent, Republican leaders are endangering American democracy and national security,” said the group, which included administration officials from Ronald Reagan, George HWBush, George W Bush and Trump.