LANSING — Over the weekend, former President Donald Trump hosted his first rally since departing the White House in January. As expected, Trump dedicated a sizable majority of his speech to the Big Lie.
In airing his grievances that ballots from 2020 had yet to be flipped in his favor — even as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin pursue Arizona-style sham audits — Trump laid blame squarely on legislators in “[the] Michigan Senate.”
Though he didn’t call them out by name, days before the rally, Trump issued a press release that explicitly called out Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Oversight Committee Chair Sen. Ed McBroom for not doing their part to support the Big Lie, urging Michiganders to “vote them the hell out of office.”
The criticism simply doesn’t line up with the facts.
Several months before a single Michigander cast a ballot last cycle, Shirkey began lobbing baseless allegations that absentee ballots would “invite fraud and security concerns.” When that proved ineffective, Shirkey upped the ante by going all in with lies about “ballot harvesting” and “abandoning constitutional duties in favor of furthering a progressive agenda.”
And before the 2020 presidential election results were even certified, the Senate Majority Leader, along with Sen. Tom Barrett and then-House Speaker Lee Chatfield, travelled to Washington DC to huddle with Trump at the White House and cultivate a plan to enable his dangerous lies.
This year, Shirkey claimed that the deceased cast ballots in Michigan, earning him a rating of “False” from Politifact. And for months he’s been elevating his argument to the blanket and wildly speculative claim that “there’s always some fraud in every election.”
In March, he used his own conspiracies to justify the introduction of a slate of voter suppression bills currently being rammed through his chamber and described by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as “more restrictive than Georgia’s” and “an attack on our democracy and the American values that make our country strong.”
Full Trump quote: “Pennsylvania is really starting to take this very seriously — and Michigan is not. You can’t get those Republicans — some are great by the way — but Michigan is not doing the job. They’re right by you. You know, how do you win Ohio by so much — record numbers — and lose Michigan? There’s one way I can tell you, there’s one way. [man in audience: “Fraud!”] The RINOs in Michigan Senate aren’t doing anything so I think the people are really starting to push them very strongly.”
“For Michigan Republicans, the Big Lie is a beast they can’t keep fed. Since Trump is going to call for their heads no matter what, these state Senators should abandon their Big Lie, anti-voter crusade,” said Rodericka Applewhaite, MDP spokesperson. “Rather than pursue the pipe dream of overturning an election they know was legitimate, Sens. Shirkey and McBroom should conduct their legislative duty by ensuring their chamber approves a budget for Governor Whitmer before the July 1st deadline. That’s the leadership Michiganders deserve and are looking for from their legislators.”