Political science professor Michael K. Miller said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s attempt to retain power must be called for what it is: an attempted coup.
Miller was responding via Twitter to a New York Times article detailing Trump’s latest effort to subvert the 2020 election, which involves inviting Republican state lawmakers from Michigan to the White House.
“After failing repeatedly in court to overturn election results, President Trump is taking the extraordinary step of reaching out directly to Republican state legislators as he tries to subvert the Electoral College process, inviting Michigan lawmakers to meet with him at the White House on Friday,” The Times wrote.
Trump’s newest strategy reportedly is to persuade Republican legislators in Michigan and Pennsylvania to appoint their own electors who will ignore the popular vote — which will clearly go to Joe Biden in both states — and instead vote for him.
In response, Miller tweeted: “I’ve seen enough. This is a genuine coup attempt now. We should absolutely use that language and it should appear in coup datasets, etc. We’re much closer to a full democratic breakdown than a lot of people realize.”
Miller noted that others have said the term “coup” does not apply to Trump’s actions, “because the military isn’t involved and this is about an executive keeping power rather than taking it.”
“But plenty of coups are not instigated first by the military,” he countered.
“Further, this *is* about taking power, namely from [Joe Biden] starting on Jan 20,” Miller continued. “We’ve already seen democratic erosion happen for four years. This is something fundamentally different: an attempt to violate electoral law & illegitimately install a president. That’s a coup.”
Whether Trump will prevail in his attempt to stay in the White House remains to be seen, but experts believe it is highly unlikely — especially given that Republican lawmakers in both Michigan and Pennsylvania have sought to keep from getting involved.
The Times reported that Michigan’s Senate majority leader, Mike Shirkey, said earlier this week “that the Legislature would not move to appoint its own slate of electors, stating, ‘That’s not going to happen.’”
Image credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour / Public Domain