Gretchen Whitmer receives standing ovation following violent threats to Michigan Electoral College


<p>Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was escorted to the state’s capitol to preside over the state’s Electoral College votes on 14 December.</p> (Getty Images)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was escorted to the state’s capitol to preside over the state’s Electoral College votes on 14 December.

(Getty Images)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer received a standing ovation at the state’s capitol as the Electoral College convened to cast definitive votes in the 2020 presidential election.

The state’s electors awarded its 16 Electoral College votes to president-elect Joe Biden following his popular vote victory in a critical swing state that Donald Trump won by just 10,000 votes in 2016.

The president has repeatedly attacked the state’s Democratic governor following statewide “lockdown” measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which inspired an alleged far-right plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer amid protests and right-wing demonstrators storming the capitol in Lansing.

On 14 December, as the state’s electors prepared to cast their votes, the governor said the capitol building would remain closed, citing a “security issue.”

State law enforcement suggested that lawmakers close the capitol as well as state legislative buildings following “credible threats of violence,” according to a legislative spokesperson.

A note to lawmakers advising staff to work remotely cited “safety and security concerns in the downtown Lansing area.”

Republican state lawmaker Gary Eisen was stripped from his committee assignments after he refused to rule out violence at the Michigan capitol as Democratic presidential electors were set to cast their votes.

Asked whether he could guarantee people’s safety amid a GOP “Hail Mary” attempt to overturn the state’s results, he said “no.”

He was also among 15 Republican state legislators and four Michigan congressmen who joined a Texas lawsuit demanding the US Supreme Court reject ballots in four states, citing baseless voter fraud claims. The court dismissed the case, among more than 50 filed across the US in the election’s wake – most have been withdrawn or rejected.

Following the November general election, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said her home was targeted by armed protesters falsely claiming that the election was “stolen” from them, echoing conspiracies and spurious legal challenges from the president and his legal team.

On Monday, the governor said that “the people have spoken.”

“It was a safe, fair and secure election,” she said after taking the podium. “It was the kind of election our founding fathers envisioned when they created this democracy and built this country.”

“And after today, the results will be final,” she said. “It’s time to move forward together as one United States of America. Now is the time to put this election behind us and focus our efforts together to defeat our common enemy: Covid-19.”

She celebrated the first shipments of the approved Covid-19 vaccine, developed at Pfizer’s plant in Michigan, “right here in the state built on innovation and grit.”

“Our state is at the centre of the world right now, in a good way,” she said. “No matter your party, no matter who you cast your ballot for, we all have a personal stake in defeating and eradicating this virus together. We must stay smart, me must mask up, and we must get to work.”

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