In the waning weeks of his presidency, President Trump berated Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in an hourlong phone call on Saturday where the President demanded that the battleground state’s top elections official “find” enough votes to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, according to the Washington Post on Sunday.
In an audio recording obtained by the Post, Trump issued an ominous warning to Raffensperger that the Georgia secretary of state is taking “a big risk” by not going along the President’s election fraud falsehoods.
Trump threatened Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel, Ryan Germany, on the call by suggesting that they will be subject to criminal liability if they fail to find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County have been illegally destroyed to block investigators — an assertion that Trump spewed without evidence.
“That’s a criminal offense,” Trump said, according to the Post. “And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
Raffensperger and Germany repeatedly refuted Trump’s bogus claims by pointing out that the President is basing his assertions off of debunked conspiracy theories. Raffensperger and Germany insisted that Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.
At one point during the unwieldy call, Trump tried to bolster his false claims of winning Georgia by baselessly claiming that the scanning of votes three times in the battleground state gave Biden an unfair advantage. Raffensperger hit back by replying: “Mr. President, they did not. We did an audit of that and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times.”
Trump, predictably, sounded unfazed as he plowed through the hourlong call with a series of disinformation and conspiracy theories to back his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in the battleground state.
Trump, who reportedly took up the most time on the call, tried to bully Raffensperger into “reexamining” Georgia’s election results, just days before Congress will hold a joint session ratifying Biden’s Electoral College win.
“So tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this,” Trump said, according to the Post . “And it’s going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”
Trump continuously attacked Raffensperger for refusing to buy into his election fraud claims throughout the call. Sounding angry and impatient, Trump took aim at Raffensperger by calling him a “child” and “either dishonest or incompetent” because Georgia’s top elections official won’t do his bidding of overturning the battleground state’s election results.
Trump also threw Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who the President laments endorsing after the Republican governor also refused to egg on Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims, under the bus during the call.
“I can’t imagine he’s ever getting elected again, I’ll tell you that much right now,” Trump said, referring to Kemp, according to the Post.
Amid his confusing and meandering rant on the Saturday call, Trump reportedly referred to Kemp as “George” and referred to the Georgia Senate runoff on Tuesday, which will determine the balance of the Senate, as happening “tomorrow” and “Monday.”
The Post’s report on Sunday was published hours after Trump complained in a tweet that Raffensperger was “unwilling, or unable” to support his bogus claims of voter fraud in Georgia.
I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
Raffensperger clearly wasn’t having it.
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