Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday said that the release of the now-infamous unhinged call he had with President Trump, who berated the battleground state’s top elections official in his attempt to bully him into overturning election results, was spurred by Trump airing his grievances about the private call in a tweet.
Hours before the Washington Post on Sunday first reported on Trump’s fiery exchange with Raffensperger, Trump complained about Georgia’s top elections official’s refusal to do his bidding in a tweet that appeared to refer to their private call.
Raffensperger rebuked Trump in a tweet issued shortly after the President’s on Sunday morning, which denied Trump’s claims centered on baseless conspiracy theories and warned that “the truth will come out.”
During an interview on Fox News Monday afternoon, Raffensperger said that he wasn’t aware that his call with Trump was being recorded at the time.
“I didn’t know it was being recorded,” Raffensperger said. “I was at my home with my wife and I had it on speakerphone. I didn’t record anything. I was making notes.”
Raffensperger added that Trump tweeted their private conversation, which the Georgia secretary of state understood as a “man to man” call.
“So he goes out and Twitter the next morning and said stuff that is not true. He releases that we did have a conversation,” Raffensperger said. “I didn’t see what the issue was. He said it wasn’t true.”
Asked when he realized that the phone call was recorded and when he decided to release it to the Post, Raffensperger replied that the leak happened after Trump’s misleading tweet was brought to his attention.
“That recording is out there and now people can look at the the entirety of the comment that were said,” Raffensperger said.
Pressed on whether he approved releasing the audio of the phone call, Raffensperger reiterated that “the information is out there” and “it is what it is.”
Asked again if he was aware of the decision to release the call, Raffensperger said that “we had to respond to the President’s Twitter.”
“And we responded to the facts in the call. That’s how it got out there,” Raffensperger said. “The world can make up their own decisions, listen to the both sides. Both sides of the aisle, down the middle. Make their own decisions.”
Later in the interview, Raffensperger responded to Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) — who is up for re-election alongside Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in the Georgia runoff elections Tuesday that will determine the balance of the Senate — slamming the “disgusting” leak of the call during an interview on Fox News earlier Monday.
Raffensperger said that Perdue owes his wife an apology following the death threats that the Georgia secretary of state’s family received after the Georgia senator demanded Raffensperger’s resignation.
“I have not heard a peep from that man,” Raffensperger said. “If he wants to call me, I’ll talk to him off the record. But he hasn’t done that.”
NBC reported that during Trump’s irate call with Raffensperger, officials within the Georgia secretary of state’s office recorded the call. Prior to the call, Raffensperger told advisers that he didn’t want a transcript or audio of the call released unless Trump attacked Georgia officials or misrepresented the conversation.
Watch Raffensperger’s remarks below:
When asked if he was in favor of the release of the phone call, Raffensperger says “I think we had to respond to the President’s twitter and we responded with the facts that were in the call” pic.twitter.com/HtyLaw02cQ
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 4, 2021