- President Donald Trump recently pleaded with Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” additional votes to secure a win for Trump in the state’s presidential contest.
- “The people of Georgia are angry – the people in the country are angry,” the president said during a phone recording obtained by The Washington Post. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
- During the call, Trump, who for months has entertained conspiracy theories about the vote in Georgia, refused to let go of the belief that he could somehow change the results.
- President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win the state’s presidential nomination since Bill Clinton in 1992.
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President Donald Trump recently pleaded with Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” additional votes to secure a win for Trump in the state’s presidential contest, according to a recording of an hour-long phone call obtained by The Washington Post.
In the recording, Raffensperger was subject to intense pressure from Trump, who told the Republican secretary of state that he was taking “a big risk” by not adhering to Trump’s demands to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s roughly 12,000-vote victory in the state.
During the call, Raffensperger and a general counsel from his office dismissed several of Trump’s claims about the vote, telling the president that the election was secure and that his allegations of widespread voter fraud throughout the state were not based on valid evidence.
Trump at times seemed unhappy with the direction of the conversation.
“The people of Georgia are angry â€” the people in the country are angry,” the president said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
Raffensperger replied: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
Later in the conversation, Trump directly asked Raffensperger for help closing his statewide vote deficit.
“All I want to do is this,” he said. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
During the call, Trump, who for months has entertained conspiracy theories that mysterious ballots were added to official tallies and has targeted voting machines from the company Dominion Voting Systems that were used in Georgia and other states, refused to let go of the belief that he could somehow change the results.
“There’s no way I lost Georgia,” Trump repeatedly said throughout the call. “There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and the conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell were also on the line, according to The Post.
Mitchell released a statement slamming the secretary of state’s office, saying it had “made many statements over the past two months that are simply not correct and everyone involved with the efforts on behalf of the President’s election challenge has said the same thing: show us your records on which you rely to make these statements that our numbers are wrong.”
Trump publicly raised his alarms about the Georgia vote tally on Sunday.
“I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia,” he tweeted. “He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”
Raffensperger responded on Twitter, affirming that the allegations were false.
“Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true,” he wrote. “The truth will come out.”
Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021
For months, Trump has publicly berated and cajoled both Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger to overturn the election results, whether by calling for a special legislative session to install pro-Trump electors who would disregard Biden’s statewide victory â€” the first by a Democratic presidential candidate in Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992 â€” or by fixating his allegations of fraud on the Democratic-heavy Fulton County, which includes Atlanta and voted overwhelmingly for Biden.
Trump’s deep involvement in Georgia politics comes amid two runoff elections in the state that will decide which party holds a majority in the US Senate. Those runoffs, in which Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are facing challenges from the Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, conclude Tuesday.
Georgia Republicans have sought to remain unified for the two races, but Trump’s behaviour has threatened the comity that Republicans will need to win both seats.