Lansing — Michigan’s 16 electors unanimously solidified Donald Trump’s presidential election victory Monday afternoon amid protests at the Capitol over the New York billionaire occupying the White House next year.
During a ceremony led by Gov. Rick Snyder inside the state Senate chambers, the Republican activists representing Michigan’s 14 congressional districts and two U.S. senate seats formalized Trump’s narrow 10,704-vote victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election.
Trump’s victory in Michigan marks the first time since 1988 that a Republican has carried Michigan in the presidential election, when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush prevailed. Around the country, Trump collected enough votes Monday from the Electoral College to become the 45th president despite an effort by anti-Trump forces to persuade electors to abandon him.
“It’s a thrilling day,” said Ronna Romney McDaniel, chair of the Michigan Republican Party. “I’m so excited for all of our electors. I’m thrilled that Michigan made a big difference. Our tagline the entire election was ‘Michigan matters,’ and we proved that to the nation with our results on Nov. 8.”
Snyder, who stayed neutral throughout the presidential election, congratulated Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence after the votes were finalized.
“We have more work to be done,” Snyder said in comments about Trump and Pence. “We’re going to put you to work again.”
Trump will officially become the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20 when he takes the oath of office at his inauguration.
Michigan’s electoral votes were finalized while protesters gathered and chanted in the Capitol’s rotunda and earlier on the front steps of the statehouse.
About 150 people gathered outside the state Capitol in a frigid 7-degree temperature to protest Trump’s victory over Clinton.
Kate Holmes, a freelance writer from Ann Arbor, was among the protesters who braved the cold and said she wasn’t naive to the fact there’s not much they can do to stop the outcome of the Electoral College votes on Monday.
“We understand that this is just the first step,” Holmes said. “If we don’t get the outcome that we want, there are things we can do. ... We are preparing for the next fight.”
Trump’s Michigan electors have been barraged since the Nov. 8 election with letters and emails from individuals from across the country urging them to not support Trump.
Kelly Mitchell, an elector from Grand Rapids and the 3rd Congressional District, said she was uneasy with the numerous emails and phone calls she received lobbying her to dump Trump.
“It was scary, to be honest with you,” Mitchell said.
Michigan has a state law requiring presidential electors to cast their votes for the candidate they were nominated to vote for.
If any elector had refused to vote for Trump, they would have resigned their position and the other electors could have nominated replacement.
Debra Swihart, 64, a retired college professor from Grass Lake, said she came out to protest because she believes the country is “in danger” under Trump’s leadership.
“I’m so frightened for what is possible for us over the next four years,” Swihart said. “This man has proven to be a racist, a sexist, seems to be in bed with the Russians, (he’s) antagonizing.”
Swihart said Trump’s is stocking his cabinet with appointees to lead federal agencies with “all millionaires, people who have no experience.”
“He wanted to drain the swamp, but his cabinet is just proving to be more of the same,” she said.
Mitchell cast her electoral vote alongside her father, Henry Hatter of Clio, who was the 5th Congressional District elector.
Hatter said he wasn’t bothered by the protests.
“I got no really serious threats,” he said.
A joint session of Congress is scheduled for Jan. 6 to certify the results of the Electoral College vote, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding as president of the Senate. Once the result is certified, the winner — almost certainly Trump — will be sworn in on Jan. 20.
The Associated Press contributed.