Perdue defends Trump over call pressuring Georgia secretary of state
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Monday defended President Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) during which the president pressured the state official to find votes to overturn his election loss.
“I didn’t hear anything in that tape that the president hasn’t already said for weeks now since the November election calling for some sort of investigation, some sort of resolution to the improprieties and the irregularities that we now see happened in November here in Georgia,” Perdue, one of two Republican senators facing runoff elections in Georgia on Tuesday, said on Fox News when asked about the call.
When pressed about other Republican pushback to the call, a recording of which was published by The Washington Post on Sunday, Perdue suggested the president was rightly raising concerns about the state’s election.
“What he is saying, a lot of people in Georgia and 75 million Americans, I think, align with him right now that something untoward happened here in Georgia and we have not gotten to the bottom of it,” Perdue said.
He also called the leak of the call “disgusting.”
Trump can be heard on the call pressuring Raffensperger to “find” votes that would overturn his election loss. Trump also seems to threaten Raffensperger, whom he has repeatedly attacked on social media, with vague consequences if the Georgia official does not act in his favor.
“The ballots are corrupt,” Trump said on the call. “And you are going to find that they are — which is totally illegal — it is more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know, what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and … your lawyer.”
Georgia officials have said there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the state’s election. President-elect Joe Biden’s win has been affirmed by three state audits and certified twice.
The phone call has prompted heavy criticism, including from some Republicans. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called it “absolutely appalling.” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaking at a rally in Georgia on Sunday, described it as a “bald-faced, bold abuse of power.”
Perdue’s defense of Trump came hours before the president is scheduled to travel to the Peach State to rally for the two vulnerable Republican senators on the eve of the runoffs. Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) are facing challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.
Republicans view Trump’s presence in Georgia as necessary to turn out the base, but many worry that his unproven accusations about widespread election fraud and his attacks on Georgia Republicans will ultimately hurt the party in the runoffs. Trump has targeted Raffensperger as well as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) over their refusal to back his fraud claims.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a staunch ally of the president, also similarly downplayed controversy surrounding Trump’s call to Raffensperger during an appearance early Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
“The president has always been concerned about the integrity of the election and the president believes there are things that happened in Georgia and he wants to see the accountability for it,” McCarthy said.