U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is not the only Republican who appears to be placing what one ethics experts called “inherently coercive” pressure on an election official.
In Michigan, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, two of the four members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, refused to certify the results of the election despite there being no record of fraud. Wayne Country includes the majority-Black city of Detroit.
Their actions were so indefensible that a Michigan businessman, among many others, during public comments accused them of outright racism.
“I just want to let you know that the Trump stink — the stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have just covered yourself in is going to follow you throughout history,” said Ned Staebler via Zoom, in a now-viral video. “Monica Palmer and William Hartmann will forever be known in southeastern Michigan as two racists who did something so unprecedented that they disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Black voters in the city of Detroit.”
WAYNE COUNTY BOARD OF CANVASSERS – 2 Republican members voted not to certify the ballots- public comment is now open and it is intense. People calling board members racist. This is commenter Ned Staebler: pic.twitter.com/cEsDlxzVXT
— Jennifer Ann Wilson WXYZ (@JennaWils) November 17, 2020
Later Tuesday Palmer and Hartmann voted to certify the count, and many across America breathed a huge sigh of relief.
But Wednesday Palmer and Hartmann signed documents declaring they were rescinding their votes to certify, “under penalty of perjury.”
New from Michigan: Now Wayne County Republicans want to “rescind” their votes to certify election results… pic.twitter.com/2tgT70JuHo
— Donovan Slack (@DonovanSlack) November 19, 2020
What happened in between?
President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press.
“A person familiar with the matter said Trump reached out to the canvassers, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, on Tuesday evening after the revised vote to express gratitude for their support. Then, on Wednesday, Palmer and Hartmann signed affidavits saying they believe the county vote ‘should not be certified.'”
The Washington Post notes that despite signing the forms rescinding their votes, it’s too late.
“Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat and the board’s vice chairman, told The Post it’s too late for the pair to reverse course, as the certified results have been sent to the secretary of state in accordance with state rules.”
But the perception of a free and fair – and unfettered – election, thanks to President Trump, has been damaged.
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Watch: Video of Beto O’Rourke Confronting Texas GOP Governor and Lt. Gov. Goes Viral
Democratic former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke approached the stage where top Texas Republicans were holding a press conference following Tuesday’s mass school shooting.
“This is on you,” O’Rourke told Governor Greg Abbott, who is running for re-election against O’Rourke. Abbott was blaming the shooting that left 19 elementary school children and two teachers dead on a lack of mental health facilities in Texas, despite having rejected federal aid that would have expanded access in the Lone Star State.
“Sit down and don’t pull this stunt,” Senator Ted Cruz chastised.
But Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, arguably the most powerful person in the room, went ballistic.
“You’re out of line and an embarrassment,” Patrick told O’Rourke.
“You’re doing nothing,” O’Rourke said.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, on stage, loudly called O’Rourke “a sick son of a bitch.”
“He needs to get his ass out of here. Sir, you are out of line. Sir, you are out of line. Sir, you are out of line,” the mayor said, as WFAA reported. “Please leave this auditorium. I cannot believe you are a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”
“You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. “This is totally predictable. You’re all doing nothing.”
“This is on you until you choose to do something about it,” O’Rourke added.
O’Rourke was escorted out of the auditorium by a security guard.
It was not Patrick’s first attack on O’Rourke. In 2019 he used an anti-LGBTQ slur on Fox News to go after the highly-popular Democrat, calling him “light in the loafers.” O’Rourke, as NBC News noted at the time, is heterosexual.
“He is so light in the loafers he floats off the ground at times,” Patrick told Fox’s Laura Ingraham, leading to an advertiser boycott.
After, O’Rourke told reporters the “only thing” Gov. Abbott did “was make it easier to carry a gun in public.”
“And he bragged about the fact that there would be no background check, no training, no vetting whatsoever. He talked about this was evil. The only thing evil is what he continues to do to the people of this state. He says this was unpredictable — it was totally predictable and I predict this will continue to happen when you continue to have a governor who will not stand up for the people of Texas.”
The video below has been viewed 1.2 million times in just over an hour. Other versions have also gone viral.
Watch the video from earlier Wednesday via CNN:
Beto O’Rourke interrupts ongoing press conference by Texas Gov. Abbott and other officials. pic.twitter.com/qa8YY0ghQy
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 25, 2022
As Jan. 6 Rioters Were Chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ Trump Told Colleagues Maybe They Should: Report
During the January 6 insurrection as rioters were hunting down the Vice President and chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” with a gallows outside the Capitol building, the President of the United States said maybe they should, his chief of staff Mark Meadows told colleagues in the White House.
“Mr. Meadows, according to an account provided to the House committee investigating Jan. 6,” The New York Times reports, “told the colleagues that Mr. Trump had said something to the effect of, maybe Mr. Pence should be hung.”
The New York Times also said that Trump was upset his vice president had been taken away by Secret Service.
Meadows “left the dining room off the Oval Office, walked into his own office and told colleagues that President Donald J. Trump was complaining that the vice president was being whisked to safety,” The Times notes.
A Trump spokesperson, Taylor Budowich, criticized the House Select Committee but did not deny the claims.
“This partisan committee’s vague ‘leaks,’ anonymous testimony and willingness to alter evidence proves it’s just an extension of the Democrat smear campaign,” he said. “Americans are tired of the Democrat lies and the charades, but, sadly, it’s the only thing they have to offer.”
In November of last year Trump defended the rioters calling for Pence to be hanged.
“Well, the people were very angry he told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, as CNN reported:
Sinema Says ‘DC Solutions’ on Guns Not ‘Realistic’
U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), one of two major roadblocks to Democrats passing President Joe Biden’s top agenda items including gun control, just one day after an 18-year old gunman massacred 21 people in Texas including 19 elementary school children, offered to be open to discussion but made clear she does not believe in a federal solution to the gun violence that plagues America.
The United States is the only country in the world with a gun crisis of this magnitude. The leading cause of death for children and teens is now a gun.
Republicans allowed the 1994 federal ban on semi-automatic weapons to expire in 2004. A 2019 study found “Mass-shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur during the federal ban period.”
Senator Sinema appeared to disagree with that study in remarks to reporters late Wednesday morning.
“I asked her if she was willing to set aside the filibuster,” Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman reports. “She said she didn’t believe ‘that DC solutions are realistic here.'”
The federal assault weapons ban was a “DC solution.”
Sinema also told Sherman that “despite the fact that there is always heated rhetoric here in DC, I do think there’s an opportunity for us to actually have real conversations and try and do something. I think the conversation across America is very different than it is here.”
90 percent of Americans want Congress to pass a background check bill, which the House already has but Senate Republicans refuse to allow. Eliminating the 60-vote threshold in the filibuster might allow that legislation to pass, as it almost did under President Barack Obama, with 54 votes.
“People at home all across America are just, they’re scared,” Sinema added, suggesting that is no reason to make changes to the way the Senate works, or to pass gun control legislation. “They want us to do something.”
Sinema committed to no action other than “to start having conversations again with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to determine whether or not there’s something we can actually do to help increase safety and protect kids across the country.”
The House has already passed multiple bills the Senate could take up and pass — or at least get Senators on the record.
Sen. Sinema’s reluctance to do anything substantive stands in clear contrast to her Arizoan Democratic colleague in the House. U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, long rumored to be a potential primary opponent when Sinema is up for re-election, on Tuesday night blasted Sinema and others, like “baby killer” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), standing in the way of gun control.
Please just stop.. unless you are willing to break the filibuster to actually pass sensible gun control measures you might as well just say “thoughts and prayers” https://t.co/YA5Pp3dqao
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 24, 2022
Just to be clear fuck you @tedcruz you fucking baby killer.
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 24, 2022
Fuck you @NRA
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 24, 2022
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