A phone call from Donald Trump caused great outrage in the USA: the President urged the electoral officials of the state of Georgia to change the election result in his favor.
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“Criminal”, “dangerous” and “abuse of power”: The efforts of the incumbent US President Donald Trump to have his electoral defeat in the state of Georgia retrospectively aroused indignation among Democrats. In a one-hour phone call, Trump had bluntly asked State Secretary Brad Raffensperger, who was responsible for the Georgia election – also a Republican – to “find” enough votes for him and to “recalculate” the result, as the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The newspaper published a complete recording of the conversation.
Other US media later reported on the content of the conversation, citing the recordings they had made. Trump also wrote on Twitter about the phone call with Raffensperger and insulted his party colleagues as “clueless”.
Harris describes the incident as a “brazen abuse of power”
The elected Vice President Kamala Harris described Trump’s actions in the phone call on Saturday as a “brazen abuse of power” that reveals “the voice of desperation”. Trump and his Republicans had filed six lawsuits against the result in the state and were thus unsuccessful, said the Democrat during an election campaign in Georgia.
Former Democratic presidential nominee Julian Castro wrote on Twitter that “the President of the United States is blackmailing state officials in an attempt to steal the election he lost”. His approach is “criminal and dangerous”. MP Bobby Scott said Trump’s “conduct is a dangerous threat to democracy and deserves a criminal investigation.” Prominent leftist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Trump’s actions justified impeachment. Even the Republican MP Adam Kinzinger called Trump’s behavior on Twitter “absolutely appalling”.
Raffensperger opposed Trump
During the hour-long conversation, Raffensperger is said to have rejected Trump’s claims, reports the US newspaper. The 11,779 votes that led US President-elect Joe Biden to victory in Georgia are fair and correct. Trump apparently rejected the arguments.
Trump is said to have insulted the Secretary of State and at the same time tried to flatter him. He also threatened criminal prosecution if Raffensperger refused to follow his demands. According to Trump, he is taking “a great risk” and may be guilty of a crime if he does not take action against election fraud.
“We won the election”
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” said Trump. Raffensperger then replied: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge is that the data you have is wrong.” At another point in the conversation, Trump reportedly said, “So look, I just want to do one thing. I just want to find 11,780 votes – that’s one more than we have right now. Because we won the state.”
Trump went on to say: “We won the election and it’s not fair to take the victory away from us like that.” Raffensperger should check the results again, demanded the incumbent US president. “But check it out with people who want to find answers,” said Trump.
Raffensperger said according to the recording: “We have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are correct.” The State Secretary pointed out that the results would also have stood up in court. In Georgia, runoff elections for two Senate seats will also take place on Tuesday, the result of which could overturn the majority of Republicans in the Washington House of Parliament.
No evidence of election fraud
Trump had narrowly lost Georgia in the November 3rd election. The Democrat Joe Biden was there with about 12,000 votes in front. The results were recounted there twice; Despite Trump’s claims, there was no evidence of electoral fraud.
The Washington Post report said the “rambling and sometimes incoherent conversation” showed how “obsessed and desperate” the president was over his electoral defeat. Trump still believes that he can change the outcome in enough states to secure a second term.
Trump lost the election almost two months ago but continues to refuse to acknowledge Biden’s victory. He is to be sworn in as the new President on January 20th. Biden secured 306 votes from the electorate, significantly more than the 270 votes needed to win. In Georgia, the votes were cast by 16 electorate. Trump has also questioned the results in other states, including Pennsylvania with its 20 electorate. However, he and his allies have not been successful with their lawsuits against the results – even judges appointed by Trump have dismissed lawsuits, some with very clear justifications.
In the formal US election procedure, the certification of the results from the individual states in Congress is due on Wednesday (from 7:00 p.m. CET). Only then will it be official who has won the election. Republicans from the House of Representatives and the Senate have announced that they will appeal against the results of individual states during the procedure. The disruptive action can delay the confirmation of Biden’s election victory by a few hours, but has no prospect of actually changing anything in the election outcome.