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On loss to Biden, Michigan GOP rep urges Trump to 'deal with it'

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

A top Michigan Republican is urging President Donald Trump to acknowledge his electoral loss and move on with the transition of administrations for the "good of the nation." 

In a tweet directed at Trump, retiring U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell of Dryden said he’d “keep trying this” — a reference to previous remarks he’s made about Trump needing to accept election results.

U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Dryden

“I will keep trying this...@realDonaldTrump legal challenges alleging fraud have failed due to lack of evidence. Recounts may change numbers slightly - not enough to change the outcome,” Mitchell wrote.

“The good of this nation requires an effective transition. Let’s just deal with it.”

Mitchell, who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, has previously said the nation demands its political leaders accept wins and losses "with grace and maturity." Of Trump, Mitchell also said "even if you say repeatedly, it doesn't mean you won."

Trump lost the Nov. 3 presidential election and Michigan to Democrat Joe Biden, but he refuses to concede and has continued to publicly claim he won. Lawsuits he's filed alleging irregularities in Michigan and other battleground states have failed to show evidence of widespread voter fraud or problems. 

In Michigan, Biden defeated Trump 51%-48% in unofficial results — a difference of over 146,000 votes.  

Most GOP leaders in Michigan and in Congress have not challenged Trump's refusal to concede or his claims that the election was "stolen" by Democrats. 

Only one other Michigan Republican in Congress, Rep. Fred Upton of St. Joseph, has publicly acknowledged Biden's win. After the Associated Press called the race for Biden two weeks ago, Upton committed to work with Biden and colleagues on both sides of the aisle. 

Libertarian U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, who represents the Grand Rapids area, on Monday called on his Republican colleagues in Congress to "intercede" on Trump's claims, saying what Trump is doing is "not healthy." Amash, who has long criticized the president, left the GOP last year.

"What the president is doing is not healthy. He has the right to pursue legal challenges—even futile ones, but he is hurting himself and the country with his absurd proclamations," the Libertarian congressman wrote. "Republicans in Congress need to intercede."

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, said it's ironic that the same Republican lawmakers who are backing Trump's refusal to concede "are validating that they were reelected in the same process."

"It’s bigger than Donald Trump. If your role is to be a gatekeeper of democracy, what are you doing? I don’t understand," Lawrence said.

"I was devastated in 2016 because my candidate didn’t win but I didn’t turn around saying that she didn’t lose. She did lose. We counted the votes and she lost."

Republican legislative leaders in Lansing on Friday confirmed they have no plans to circumvent the popular vote for president in the state by appointing electors friendly to Trump to cast votes in his favor.

The question arose because Trump last week raised the possibility with advisers. The New York Times reported the GOP president had asked aides about having Republican legislators in battleground states pick "pro-Trump" electors to deliver him the electoral votes he needs for a second term. 

Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Without mentioning Biden's name, representatives for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake and House Speaker Lee Chatfield of Levering said Friday that the winner of the popular vote in Michigan would receive the state's 16 votes in the Electoral College next month. 

mburke@detroitnews.com