In the aftermath of his 2020 election loss, former President Donald Trump twice tried calling a Republican Maricopa County supervisor who was then chair of the county board, the Arizona Republic reported based on public records and interviews.
The Republic’s investigation stemmed from a public records request that revealed efforts to pressure Maricopa County supervisors from Trump, Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The first White House call to Supervisor Clint Hickman, who was then chair of the Board of Supervisors, came on New Year’s Eve. Hickman let the call go to voicemail, according to the report, and then listened to the message — it was the White House switchboard, asking him to call back so he could speak with the President.
A few days later — after Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win Georgia — Hickman received another call from the White House that he let go to voicemail.
“Hello, sir. This is the White House operator I was calling to let you know that the president’s available to take your call if you’re free,” a voice said on the recording. “If you could please give us a call back, sir, that’d be great. You have a good evening.”
Among ongoing election litigation and after hearing the then-President’s call with Raffensperger (“I was horrified” by that call, Hickman told the Republic), the supervisor never called Trump back.
“I didn’t want to have a very rough call to my home on a Sunday night,” he said.
But the President’s own attempts to reach the county official were just the tip of the iceberg of pressure from Trump allies, as revealed in the Republic’s report.
‘We’re all Republicans’
The Republic reported on numerous attempts from Ward and Giuliani, beginning just days after Election Day, to pressure county supervisors into acting.
“A hand count before counts are complete is CRUCIAL,” Ward wrote to Hickman on Nov. 7. “Make this happen!” And later in the same conversation: “We need you to stop the counting.”
“POTUS will probably be calling you,” she texted Hickman on Nov. 13, though the prediction would take several weeks to come true. Ward didn’t respond to TPM’s request for comment on the report.
On Nov. 14, she texted another supervisor, Republican Steve Chucri.
“I want you guys to be well-armed with info as you go into this,” Ward wrote. “You all have the ability to be real heroes.”
She also reportedly said Sidney Powell — the pro-Trump lawyer now being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for her several false claims about the election — wanted to talk to the commissioner.
“I have her number. But she wants you to review a little bit of data first,” Ward said. “Where can I send it?” Despite Chuci’s protestations in response, Ward kept going, pressing him, Hickman and fellow supervisor Bill Gates (R) to contact Powell.
As the board prepared to certify its election results, Ward grew sharper, per the report.
“Sounds like your fellow Repubs are throwing in the towel,” she wrote Gates on Nov. 20, the day of the certification. “Very sad. And unAmerican.”
“I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election,” she told Hickman
“Seems you’re playing for the wrong team and people will remember. *WRONG team,” she wrote to Chucri.
Giuliani, the report found, left several voicemails with county supervisors seeking action.
“I was very happy to see that there’s going to be a forensic audit of the machines,” Giuliani said in one Dec. 4 voicemail to Chucri, who by then had publicly supported an audit of tabulation machines and discussed the matter briefly with Giuliani. “And I really wanted to talk to you about it a bit. The president wanted me to give you a call.”
Ultimately, two separate audits prior to the current politicized “audit” found no issues with voting machines or software in the county.
Giuliani was insistent, invoking the party membership of the supervisors he was lobbying.
“If you get a chance, would you please give me a call,” he said in a voicemail to Gates in December. “I have a few things I’d like to talk over with you. Maybe we can get this thing fixed up. You know, I really think it’s a shame that Republicans sort of are both in this kind of situation. And I think there may be a nice way to resolve this for everybody.”
Around the same time, he reportedly left a similar voicemail for Supervisor Jack Sellers (R), who’s now the board chair.
“I’m hoping we could have a chance to have a conversation,” Giuliani said. “I’d like to see if there’s a way that we can resolve this so that it comes out well for everyone. We’re all Republicans, I think we have the same goal … Let’s see if we can get this done outside of the court, gosh.”