The phone call showed Trump's "voice of desperation" said Kamala Harris, adding that it was "a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States."
An hour-long phone call that reeks of desperation from the current (but-not-for-too-long) American president is showing the country how Donald Trump is begging officials to "find" votes and overturn the election results in his favor.
In the secretly recorded conversation that was obtained by The Washington Post, Trump is heard rambling on the phone with fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State as well as other officials. Trump was willing to say just about anything to pressure the officials into ignoring ethics just because he couldn't stand the thought of losing.
The recording of the conversation reveals Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel telling Trump that Biden's victory in Georgia was fair, and they told Trump that he was basing his claims of voter fraud on conspiracy theories. However, as expected, Trump was not willing to pay heed to their statements and claimed, "The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated."
As Raffensperger and other representatives patiently listened, they were also able to refute Trump's inflammatory claims of voter fraud. "Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong," responded Raffensperger, as reported by The Washington Post.
Trump's unwillingness to admit defeat could be seen when he made statements such as: "So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state," Trump said, as quoted by The New York Times. "And flipping the state is a great testament to our country because, you know, this is—it’s a testament that they can admit to a mistake or whatever you want to call it."
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) January 4, 2021
Donald Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn US #election2020 results, according to an audio recording of a phone call obtained by the Washington Post 👇 pic.twitter.com/ffIwfaJafR
"So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break," Trump added at a later point as he continued to pressurize Raffensperger into turning the Georgia results in his favor, as reported by The Washington Post.
Through the rants and sometimes incoherent statements, there was one sentiment that Trump repeated over and over again. "There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes," Trump said, trying to reverse whatever state results he could to stay in office.
When the begging did not work, Trump resorted to intimidating Raffensperger by saying, as quoted by The Guardian, "You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. You know, that’s a criminal offence. And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan [Germany], your lawyer. That’s a big risk."
Later, Trump wrote on Twitter accusing Raffensperger of having "no clue" about 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 replied to Trump's tweet and said, "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
Among the many who commented on Trump's call, Sen. Dick Durbin slammed the president and said, as reported by Fox News, "President Trump’s recorded conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger is more than a pathetic, rambling, delusional rant. His disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing and misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy and merits nothing less than a criminal investigation."
According to The Hill, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also said the call showed Trump's "voice of desperation" and said it was "a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States."
"Have y'all heard about that recorded conversation," @KamalaHarris says of the Trump-Raffensperger call in Georgia.— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) January 3, 2021
"It was certainly the voice of desperation... and it was a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States." pic.twitter.com/VJTjWAyUwg
You can listen to Trump's phone call, originally obtained and released by The Post, and read the complete transcript of his conversation with Raffensperger here.