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William Bender, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Angela Couloumbis, Spotlight PA
President Donald Trump called Republican members of the Pennsylvania legislature into the White House on Wednesday after a GOP hearing in Gettysburg in which Trump telephoned to confirm his false claim that he had “won a lot in Pennsylvania”.
But no one wanted to talk about the meeting on Thursday.
The White House made no public statement about the visit, and lawmakers who made their way to Washington listened.
President-elect Joe Biden won the state of Pennsylvania by 80,555 votes and 20 votes, according to Commonwealth Secretary Kathy Boockvar’s statement on Tuesday. The former vice president is ahead of the national referendum by about six million votes. Across the country, election officials found no evidence of widespread fraud, as Trump claimed.
Even with the ongoing Biden transition, the president is making increasingly desperate attempts to invalidate the election, or there are doubts about Biden’s legitimacy as an incoming president.
- Referring to the victory, Trump wants the Pa legislators to consider a special election; leaders say this is unlikely
On Wednesday, Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, brought his unfounded case to a hearing convened in Gettysburg by the majority political committee of the entire Republican State Senate.
Giuliani claimed the election was stolen and covered up with the help of “Big Tech”, the news media and the courts. Trump called the hearing, through Jenna Ellis ’attorney’s cell phone, and falsely claimed,“ These elections have been rigged and we can’t let that happen. This choice needs to be reversed because we have won a lot in Pennsylvania and we have won a lot in all these swing states. “
Several Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers were then invited to the White House to meet with Trump. CNN said, citing two sources, that the meeting is expected to take place in the west wing. Republican leaders of the legislature – with a majority in both chambers of the GOP – leaders and spokesmen said they were not particularly present among the participants.
It is unclear what Trump hoped to meet with Pennsylvania lawmakers, especially without the presence of leadership. This was the second time in weeks that the President had brought Republican state lawmakers to the White House in connection with the election; he did the same with Michigan lawmakers on Nov. 20.
Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster), Speaker of the Pennsylvania House, did not attend the White House meeting Wednesday. Kerry Benninghoff (R., Center), House Majority Leader, Incoming Senate Majority Leader, Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland), or current Senate Majority Leader and incoming Senate President, Pro Tempore, Jake Corman (R., Center).
Benninghoff and Corman have repeatedly said the legislature will not interfere in the outcome of the presidential election, and their spokesmen confirmed this on Wednesday.
The White House did not respond to the discussion or the views of the participants. In 2017, the Trump administration stopped disclosing the names of White House visitors, citing the spokesman’s so-called “serious national security risks and the privacy concerns of hundreds of thousands of visitors each year”.
State Senator Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin), one of the most conservative members of the Senate, was among the legislators who went to the White House, legislative sources said. Mastriano played a key role in organizing the Senate Majority Political Committee hearing in Gettysburg. You did not send a comment by phone.
Trump’s meeting with Michigan Republican lawmakers last week was attended by legislative leaders. The president’s allies sought to have the state legislature overturn Biden’s victory and award the state’s 16 voter votes to Trump. After their meeting with Trump, GOP leaders rejected the idea.
“We have not yet been informed of any information that could change the outcome of the Michigan election, and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process for Michigan voters, as we said during the election,” Mike Shirkey, Senate Majority Leader and Speaker Lee Chatfield said in a joint statement.
In Pennsylvania, State Senator David Argall (R., Schuylkill), chairman of the majority committee, did not respond to a request for an opinion on Thursday. Another 13 members of the committee, as well as state representatives joining the Gettysburg hearing, did not respond to the requests for opinions, or said they did not go to Washington or could not reach them on Thursday.
Despite Pennsylvania election results confirmed on Monday, Trump supporter Mike Kelly (R., Butler) is backing the Commonwealth Court to throw out election results and appoint Republican-controlled legislation to select the state winner . This case is ongoing.
Kelly disputes the legitimacy of the state legislature’s vote to expand this year’s postal vote. The measure required for this was met with broad bipartisan support. Only one Republican voted against him in the House, and none in the Senate opposed it.
So far, Trump has lost 11 of the 12 Pennsylvania lawsuits filed in state and federal courts since election day, and these challenges do not allege or provide evidence of voter fraud.
The interviewer’s co-worker, Jonathan Lai, contributed to this article.
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