- “All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” President Trump says, according to audio of the call.
- Sec. Raffensperger responded, “well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
- The revelation of this phone call sparked criticism from top Republicans.
Efforts by President Donald Trump to retain the office, reached another level on Saturday following a long, leaked phone call in which he discussed with the Secretary of State of Georgia, Republican Brad Raffensperger, how to “find” enough votes to reverse the disputed electoral victory of Democrat Joe Biden.
As per a recording obtained by The Washington Post, lasting one hour, the President warns Sec. Raffensperger that he may be committing “a crime” by not investigating possible fraud.
“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” President Trump says, according to audio of the call. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”
The declared winner of the election, Joe Biden, is scheduled to be sworn in on January 20. He allegedly beat Trump in the State of Georgia by 11,779 votes, according to the results re-counted and certified by the state.
The President has tried to change the declared result, and that of other states that were key in his defeat, such as Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, so far in vain. The tension transmitted in the call this Saturday to change the count is disconcerting to some.
“We won the election and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this, and it’s going to be very costly in many ways,” President Trump says. “I think you have to say that you’re going to re-examine it.”
Sec. Raffensperger responded, “well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
At another point, the President launches a veiled threat. “That’s a crime,” he says, arguing that thousands of Trump votes have been destroyed.
“It’s more illegal for you than it is for them because you know what they did and you’re not reporting it — that’s the — you know, that’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And, you know you can’t let that happen. That’s — that’s a big risk to you and Ryan [Germany], your lawyer, that’s a big risk.”
The exchange is a reflection of the pressures that the President of the United States has been putting on electoral authorities of his own party, who have had to go out to defend the integrity of the electoral system of the country that boasts of being the number one democracy in the world.
President Trump admitted his call to the high office of Georgia this Sunday on his Twitter account and accused him of “not having a clue” and of not being “able” or not “willing” to answer his questions about the handling of the ballots. Most courts in the US have punted on examining fraud claims and have instead dismissed cases based on technicalities.
Some Republicans, after weeks of discussion, have turned the page and recognized Mr. Biden as President-Elect. The revelation of this phone call sparked criticism from some top party names.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, was among those on twitter annoyed by the President’s conduct.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a regular critic of President Trump, said he “could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world.”
“Has ambition so eclipsed principle,” Mitt Romney wondered.