Donald Trump’s quixotic bid to overturn the November 3 election results has been dealt another blow as a recount confirmed he had lost Georgia while the winner Joe Biden filled more jobs in his incoming US administration.
Mr Biden is preparing to take office on January 20 but Mr Trump has refused to concede and is searching for a way to overturn the results in a number of states, claiming widespread voter fraud.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger poured more cold water on the Trump campaign’s effort when he confirmed that a manual recount and audit of all ballots cast in the southern state had determined that Mr Biden was the winner.
“The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or courts, or of either campaigns,” Raffensperger, a Republican and Trump supporter, told reporters.
In a statement hours later, Mr Raffensberger said he would certify the results later on Friday.
it's official. Georgia has certified its election results. pic.twitter.com/CsF4pCoZdQ
— Justin Gray (@JustinGrayWSB) November 20, 2020
With the door seemingly slammed shut in Georgia and having been stung by a series of court defeats, the Trump team is resting its hopes on getting Republican-controlled legislatures in other battleground states won by Mr Biden to set aside the results and declare Mr Trump the winner, according to three people familiar with the plan.
It is focusing on Michigan and Pennsylvania for now but even if both those states flipped to the president he would need to overturn the vote in another state to vault ahead of Mr Biden in the Electoral College.
Mr Trump not only would need three state legislatures to intervene against vote counts as they stand now but then also have those actions upheld by Congress and, almost certainly, the US Supreme Court.
Mr Biden leads by 306 electoral votes to Mr Trump’s 232 as states work to certify their results at least six days before the Electoral College convenes on December 14.
Undeterred by the long odds, Mr Trump was meeting with Michigan’s state legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House of Representatives Speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, at the White House on Friday, according to a source in Michigan.
Upon arriving at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport outside Washington DC, Senator Shirkey and his colleagues were met by a swarm of protesters.
Some held signs that read “SHAME” while others chanted “Certify the results” and “respect Michigan voters”.
Mr Biden, who turned 78 on Friday, continued to lay the foundation of his administration, naming Louisa Terrell as the incoming director of the White House’s office of legislative affairs, the main liaison with Congress, and announcing other appointments.
Ms Terrell worked as a deputy chief of staff for Mr Biden in the Senate and was a special assistant to president Barack Obama.
She also has held roles in the private sector with Yahoo and Facebook.
Mr Biden was due on Friday to meet Democratic leaders in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.