Shortly before the important Senate runoff elections in Georgia, a phone call has taken place in which President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s Secretary of State to change the state’s presidential election results. A recording of the call was released on Jan. 3 by the Washington Post.
What Did Trump Say?
On Saturday, Trump had a telephone conversation with the Secretary of State of Georgia Brad Raffensperger. During the call, Trump talked extensively about allegations of electoral fraud and requested a subsequent change in the presidential election result in Georgia.
In the one-hour phone call, Trump repeatedly and bluntly urges Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for him and “recalculate” the result. Trump threatens Raffensperger, saying he would be taking a “great risk” and could possibly be guilty of a crime if he did not take action against the alleged election fraud.
Trump’s Close Election Loss in Georgia
Trump narrowly lost Georgia in the November 3 election, which was won by Democratic challenger Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes. The results were officially recounted twice, and despite Trump’s claims no indications of election fraud were found. During the call with Raffensperger, Trump complained about what he saw as the “wrong” result in Georgia and asserted that he had won the election.
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state”, he said, according to the recording. It was “not fair to take our victory away,” added the president.
“There’s no way I lost Georgia,” Trump said several times during the call. “There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
Raffensperger must recheck the results, Trump demanded. But this should be done in cooperation with people who “want to find the answers”, the President added.
Raffensper to Trump: ‘the Data you Have is Wrong’
Raffensperger, however, counters Trump, taking issue with his information.
“The problem you have is that the data you have is wrong”, the Secretary of State can be heard saying: “We have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are correct.” Raffensperger pointed out that the courts also confirmed the results.
Trump rejected these arguments, falling back on an emotional appeal.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
To date, neither the White House nor Raffensperger’s office has commented on the report. The office of President-elect Biden did not want to comment either.
The Washington Post article states the “rambling and sometimes incoherent conversation” showed how “obsessed and desperate” the president was over his electoral defeat. Trump still believes he could change the outcome in enough states to secure a second term.
After the conversation, Trump took his frustration to Twitter and called Raffensperger “clueless”.
Trump’s Rigged Election Claims are Falling Apart
This call is a final testimony — if it was ever needed in the first place — that the whole saga of a “fraudulent” election was never about doing the right thing, upholding democracy or patriotism. It has been about cheating the president into a second term, plain and simple. It is a soft coup attempt in broad daylight, that has been supported by prominent figures within Lincoln’s party, so-called defenders of American exceptionalism.
During four years in which the US, and indeed, the world, have witnessed one White House scandal after the next — most of which would have cost any other president his office — the Saturday telephone conversation is arguably Trump’s magnum opus.
It also transpires only days prior to January 6, when Congress’s joint session will confirm Biden’s electoral college votes. Several Republicans have pledged they would challenge the confirmation. While it will not affect Biden’s win, it displays how many within the GOP have now completely aligned themselves and their political future with Donald Trump and his baseless and debunked claims of a fraudulent election.
A Split GOP?
These actions are likely to cause increased frictions within the GOP as more and more Republicans are publicly opposing the president’s conduct.
Meanwhile, runoff elections for two Senate seats will also take place on Tuesday in Georgia, the result of which could overturn the majority of Republicans in the Senate.
As things stand, the Republicans have 50 seats in the Senate and the Democrats 48. The Republicans in Georgia only have to win one of the two elections to continue to hold a majority in the chamber. A Republican majority would have a significant impact on Biden’s ability to govern and effectively pass legislation.