During a surreal, hour-long phone call on Saturday, President Trump repeatedly badgered Georgia secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the state’s election results, insisting that he “find” 11,780 of votes that would prove Trump’s actually beat Joe Biden in November.
Trump seemed to have left his coup request until the last minute, but it wasn’t for lack of previous effort. Several outlets reported on Monday that the call was the White House’s 19th attempt to reach Raffensperger directly since the election, more than two months ago.
An adviser to Raffensperger — a deeply conservative official who has become something of a liberal favorite for exposing Senator Lindsey Graham’s attempts to subvert the election, and for generally sticking to his guns on the matter of Georgia’s election integrity — told Politico that the secretary of State was understandably worried that “he would be unethically pressured by the president” during such a conversation, which may explain why he was screening calls with a 202 area code so aggressively.
Fully aware of what a conversation with Trump was likely to entail, Raffensperger’s team decided to record Saturday’s call, then wait to see if Trump would mischaracterize the proceedings publicly. When the president inevitably did just that, the president’s not-so-perfect phone call was revealed to the world.