As Donald Trump continues to deny that President-Elect Joe Biden won the election and refuses to concede, some local Republican officials are doing their very best to pull off his much-desired coup. Take what happened on Tuesday night in Michigan, when the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially voted against certifying the election results in the county, which includes the city of Detroit. Subverting democracy to own the libs!
The two Republicans, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, eventually backtracked after a heated outcry from voters who spoke up via Zoom, but not before they earned an approving, if false, tweet from Donald Trump.
As the New York Times reported, after Palmer refused to certify the results for the entire county, she made a motion to, in her words, “certify the results in the communities other than the city of Detroit.” In other words, she was fine with certifying the vote in mostly white cities in the county, but not in Detroit, a majority Black city. I wonder why that would be the case!
Before we go into what happened during the rest of the meeting, let’s learn a little bit more about the duo, both of whom are, naturally, huge fans of Donald Trump. Hartmann’s Facebook page, on which he describes himself as an “international man of mystery” (he also runs a political and business marketing firm, according to the Detroit Free Press), is full of some, uh, interesting memes, though this photo he shared might be the worst:
He also has hinted in public posts on his Facebook page that the election results were fradulent. “I’m reading the news on how great things are now that Biden and Harris are in as declared by the MSM. What will happen if it doesn’t happen once the official results are tallied? I wouldn’t sell the farm yet,” Hartmann wrote in a Facebook post on November 7. In a separate post from the same day, he wrote, “I’m not really one to promote conspiracy theories but look up hammer and scorecard. Interesting.” Hammer and scorecard, in case you’re not familiar, is a reference to a debunked voter fraud conspiracy theory whose proponents claim that the CIA hacked the election.
As for Palmer, she has shared stories alleging there was voter fraud in Detroit on her Facebook page. And as the Detroit Free Press noted, Palmer is currently embroiled in a bit of an ethics scandal:
She’s familiar to many voters in the Grosse Pointe School District as founder and president of Taxpayers for Grosse Pointe Schools, which has anonymous donors – making it an unusually secretive political action committee for the district’s hotly contested school board election this month.
Palmer had an ethics complaint filed against her in October accusing her of a conflict of interest. The complaint accused Palmer of running a “dark-money PAC” to promote candidates for the Grosse Pointe Board of Education, a local election in Wayne County that was part of her oversight duty on the county’s Board of Canvassers, and called on her to step down from the board. The Wayne County Ethics Board will meet Wednesday to discuss the complaint against Palmer.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, which was conducted virtually, voters unloaded on Palmer and Hartmann. That people had signed up to speak during the meeting was the work of Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell, who as the New York Times noted “sens[ed] that Republicans might play politics with the certification” and called on Democrats to join the meeting. According to the Times, “a broad coalition—Detroit voters, clergy members, Middle Eastern immigrants, Black women, environmentalists, civil rights leaders and people who had worked at the polls and the absentee voting center—spoke out on the deadlock, repeatedly calling the Republican members racist and saying they were trying to disenfranchise Detroit voters.”
“You are a disgrace,” the Reverend Wendell Anthony told the two Republicans, adding, “You have dishonored the legacy of veterans, the legacy of seniors, the legacy of all of those who’ve been left out and miscounted for generations.”
But Ned Staebler, the president and CEO of a tech incubator in Detroit and the Vice President for Economic Development at Wayne State University, had perhaps the strongest words for Hartmann and Palmer. “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,” Staebler said. “Your grandchildren are going to think of you like Bull Connor or George Wallace. 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 because they were ordered to.”
Staebler concluded by telling them they were going to burn forever in the depths of hell. “But just know when you try to sleep tonight, that millions of people around the world now on Twitter know the name Monica Palmer and William Hartmann as two people completely racist and without an understanding of what integrity means or a shred of human decency. The law isn’t on your side, history won’t be on your side, your conscience will not be in your side, and Lord knows, when you go to meet your maker, your soul is going to be very, very warm.”
Perhaps the flood of angry voters and the prospect Staebler raised that they might spend eternity in hell, worked. Here’s what happened after voters spent three hours yelling at Palmer and Hartmann, via the New York Times:
When the board came back, its members informed the crowd that they had just voted unanimously to certify the results and ordered Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to conduct a thorough audit of the Wayne County results, especially the precincts with disparities. They didn’t explain how the reversal had come about.
The certification process now moves to Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers, which has a deadline of November 23 to certify the entire state’s results. But we may see more hijinks ensue. Via the Times:
The Board of State Canvassers, which must deliver final state certification, consists of two Democrats, Jeannette Bradshaw and Julie Matuzak, and two Republicans, Norman D. Shinkle and Aaron Van Langevelde.
Mr. Shinkle’s wife, Mary Shinkle, filed an affidavit in support of a lawsuit the Trump campaign has brought in federal court alleging voting irregularities in Wayne County. The affidavit claimed, among other things, that poll workers had been “extremely rude and aggressive” to her and other observers, that they had not allowed her to look over their shoulders as they processed ballots, and that envelopes and ballot stubs had not been securely stored. The judge in the state case had dismissed similar affidavits as based on “an incorrect interpretation of events.”
Please, when will the world’s dumbest coup end!