US President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in the southern state, according to a recording of the hour-long call released by US media on Sunday.
The Saturday call was the latest move in Trump’s two-month effort insisting that his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election was the result of widespread voter fraud, a claim that has been widely rejected by state and federal election officials as well as multiple courts.
Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, came as some of Trump’s allies in the US Congress said they plan to object to the formal certification on Wednesday of Biden’s victory. The former vice president won by a margin of 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College, and by more than 7 million votes overall.
The Washington Post, which first reported the call, said that Trump alternately flattered, begged and threatened Raffensperger with vague criminal consequences in an attempt to undo his loss.
Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions throughout, and told the president that he was relying on debunked conspiracy theories spread on social media about what was a fair and accurate election, according to the audio excerpts and the newspaper’s account.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump said, according to audio of the call published online by the Post. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
“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 in the recording, insisting that there was “no way” he lost in Georgia.