From my colleague, Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield:
MY STATEMENT ON THE ELECTORS AND THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Growing up, I was taught to respect our country, know our history and be thankful to God for the opportunity to live here. A love for our flag and what it represented was instilled deep within me, as well as an appreciation for those who fought and died to make it possible. I was taught the history of our country, the good and the bad, the story of the founders, what was written in the Constitution and the principles found within the Declaration of Independence. I now attempt to teach my children the same things. I love my country. We have an incredible story. Our nation is truly blessed.
I also never planned to be in politics. It was never my dream. But I did enjoy following it. It was a part of my upbringing. Politics was debated at the dinner table. It was discussed in the classroom. It was talked about from the pulpit. I was taught that government was an institution created by God and that believers had a role to play within it. I still believe this.
I remember when my father worked on the George W. Bush campaign. He organized pastors. He helped turn out the evangelical vote. I saw this, believed in it and grew up appreciating President Bush. I was in eighth grade when the towers fell, and seeing the president’s leadership only reinforced my love for the red, white and blue.
We had an American flag flying outside our car. Many people did. You saw flags at homes. For a while, we didn’t argue about politics. We stood as Americans. We prayed as Americans. And that’s all that mattered.
I am also a very passionate Trump supporter. He’s done things for our country that other presidents have been unable to do. I did all I could in 2016 to ensure he was elected, and I worked hard for him again in 2020. He loves this country and doesn’t apologize for it. He has backbone. I believe he does what he feels is best for our country first and always keeps his word and his campaign promises. And that’s refreshing to see in politics. Like most Trump supporters, of course, I took grief from friends. Some jokingly, some seriously and some simply intolerant of my beliefs. It was okay, though. I still supported him. I spoke at his rallies. I worked with volunteers. I spoke out on his behalf all over the state. I was all in to see another big win in 2020.
Then November 3rd came. And after the election, there were reports of irregularities. Eye witnesses signed affidavits reporting they witnessed fraud. Republicans were blocked out of the room in Detroit. Some counties in Michigan had problems with the software tabulating the vote. This was enough that we immediately took action in our state. We subpoenaed the Bureau of Elections. We sent record retention demands to clerks. We began investigations. We heard testimony. We brought in President Trump’s legal team. Dominion is coming in next week. We’ve been doing all we can to get to the bottom of this.
If there’s fraud, it needs to be found. Anyone who broke our laws need to be prosecuted. Election integrity makes our country unique. The people of America, whether they win or lose, have peace of mind knowing that the people spoke, the law was followed and that our institutions carry on in accordance with our Constitution. If there’s fraud, we punish it. If there’s not, we move on.
While this was going on in the Legislature and we were doing our job, Michigan’s eighty-three counties were also doing theirs and had seen enough to certify their votes. The Board of State Canvassers then certified the votes statewide. I don’t like the outcome, but nevertheless, it has Biden with the win. By the actual certified votes, Trump lost.
This has now led to other conversations and other demands. First, many have demanded that I audit the election. This audit is already (by law) conducted by the Secretary of State and begins after votes are certified. I can force the Secretary’s hand on this with as much power as I can sign a bill into law. I simply don’t have the authority. I wish I did. But that’s why we’ve been doing our investigations. That’s our role.
This has also led to a national conversation over the Legislature’s role in choosing the electors. I’m a states’ rights guy, so I’m happy to have this conversation. But the Legislature in Michigan chose decades ago to award our electors to the winner of the popular vote. While many bright legal minds disagree, I personally believe that the Legislature could pass a resolution changing the manner in which electors are appointed, but the Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that once created, the right to a popular vote for President becomes fundamental, and the exercise of a fundamental right can’t be infringed retroactively for due process reasons. Maybe they were right. Maybe they were wrong. But that was the Court’s decision. And it stands today.
I fought hard for President Trump. Nobody wanted him to win more than me. I think he's done an incredible job. But I love our republic, too. I can't fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, or sending a separate slate of electors, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win. That's unprecedented for good reason. And that’s why there’s not enough support in the House to cast a new slate of electors. I fear we'd lose our country forever. What happens when the Democrats decide in the next election that there's proof of "Russian collusion" and decide to give the electors to the Democrat? I wouldn't be okay with that. Nor am I okay with it now. This truly would bring mutually assured destruction for every future election in regards to the Electoral College. And I can’t stand for that.
I know this isn’t what some want. I understand that. It isn’t what I want either. Many have sent me messages saying that God has me in this place for “such a time as this” and that I need to do “what is right.” Believe me, as hard as this may be, that’s what I am doing. I have been threatened by both the left and right depending on what I do next. My family has been threatened by both sides. My staff has been threatened. And that’s why I am simply doing what I believe is right.
I love President Trump. And I also love my country. I won’t apologize for either one. But aside from a court order, including direction from the Supreme Court of the United States, I will not violate the established law of our state or break the norms and institutions that have guided this country for more than two hundred years and have kept it together.
We have a republic if we can keep it. And I intend to.