Interviews

Michigan elector speaks out against pressure to reject Trump

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  Michigan Republican elector Michael Banerian joining us now on the phone.  Michael, how are you voting when you meet on Monday?  

MICHAEL BANERIAN, REPUBLICAN ELECTOR:  Well, thanks for having me, by the way.  Appreciate it.  So on Monday, on December 19th, myself and 15 other Michigan electors will be very proudly casting our votes for Donald Trump and Mike Pence for president and vice president of the United States.  

CAVUTO:  OK, so this is a state that Donald Trump won by about 10,000 votes.  Very close, but a Republican had virtually never won there and all of a sudden now it looks like he picked up the 16 electors.  And you're saying and the 15 others who are going to be with you, Michael, are of a similar mindset.  They're not going to bolt.  

BANERIAN:  Yes, absolutely.  I mean, these are all people who are very intent on delivering the message that the millions of Michiganders sent on November 8th.  

CAVUTO:  OK.  It's good to see you, by the way, I thought you were on the phone.  But, Michael, let me get a sense of the pressure that you've been getting.  I was talking to a colleague of yours, a similar elector, and over the course of the last couple of weeks, other electors in other states under enormous pressure, the likes of which we have never seen.  What kind of stuff to do you hear?  

BANERIAN:  Oh, it has been pretty crazy.  In fact, just today the mailman dropped off over 700 letters to my house.  I have received over a thousand in the last two days and that's just through snail mail.  I've gotten thousands and thousands of messages on Twitter, on Facebook, and in my private email.  

CAVUTO:  What do they say, Michael?  What are they telling you to do?  

BANERIAN:  Yes, well, these messages are very clear, they want me and all of my other elector colleagues to change our votes for Hillary Clinton. And I think it's kind of funny that a lot of these messages that I've been receiving aren't even from people from the state of Michigan.  

Most of these letters are coming from California and New York.  And I just think it's kind of comical that these people think that my vote is more beholden to their wishes rather than the millions of Michiganders who voted for Donald Trump for president on November 8th.  

CAVUTO:  What did what did you make, Michael, what the president was saying about the Electoral College, that it's -- kind of like it's this relic from the past, I'm paraphrasing here, and I don't want to put words in his mouth, but that, you know, it's the closest I've heard him to just dismissing it outright.  What did you make of that?  

BANERIAN:  Well, I think it's disappointing that someone who studied the Constitution and is the president of the United States, it's disappointing that he doesn't understand the system.  

The Electoral College was put in place to ensure that every American has a voice in this process.  So that big states, densely populated states, like California and New York, don't control every single election.  So that Wyoming and New Hampshire have a voice in this process, too, and states like that.  

So I think it's irresponsible for him to say it's just kind of a formality or something that we don't need anymore because it very much is something that we need in this country and it works great.  

CAVUTO:  Michael, it's just a gut call on your part, so if you'll indulge me, how many electors do you think just might switch?  We know of one in Texas who might.  I don't know any other than that.  But any vibes you have?  

BANERIAN:  Yes.  I think the only situation where we're finding an elector who is saying they're going to switch is in Texas.  And I can't imagine anyone else is going to follow that path.  

But if I may say about that particular elector, I find it absolutely shameful that that person would go against the will of the voters of Texas because if you look at the facts, the arguments he's making don't make any sense.  

He was elected at the Texas GOP state convention.  He signed a legal affidavit saying that he would support the nominee for president and vice president of the United States, under the Republican ticket.  

He then appeared on the Texas ballot as an elector for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and he was elected as an elector for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, not to be a rogue elector.  

So I think it's incredibly deceptive to do that to the voters.  And I think somebody who thinks that they're opinion is somehow better than millions of Texans, and in my case millions of Michiganders who sent that message, and to change that voice and not deliver that message, it's irresponsible, it's shameful.  

So I'm very disappointed in his decision and I don't think any other elector -- Republican elector will do that.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  Michael, thank you very much.  We're referring to Chris Suprun in Texas.  And, again, still inclined to vote, just not for Donald Trump.  And instead he has indicated maybe John Kasich, the Ohio governor.  But you just can't switch to the -- Hillary Clinton there.  It's going to be crazy but we'll see.  

END

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