Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said in an recent interview that audio of a call in which the president pressured him to help overturn President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenUS threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida US orders families of embassy staff in Ukraine to leave country MORE's victory in the state wouldn’t have leaked if the president didn't tweet “something that was false.”
In an interview with local NBC affiliate WXIA-TV released on Monday, Raffensperger said President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE “broke privacy” when he recently tweeted about the call, audio of which has sent ripples throughout Washington in the past day since its release.
The secret Trump/Raffensperger recording was released because of the president's false tweet about the Secretary of State. Listen to @GaSecofState tell us that there was no confidentiality stipulation & why any expectation of privacy on the call was shattered by @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/qvNgfjxIoa— Brendan Keefe (@BrendanKeefe) January 4, 2021
“It was a private conversation as far as I was concerned, and he broke privacy when he put out a tweet. But then his tweet was false,” Raffensperger said.
The Washington Post published the full audio of the call, which took place Saturday, on Sunday after Trump tweeted about a call with Raffensperger earlier in the day.
“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!” he wrote in the tweet.
Not long after, Raffensperger responded to Trump on Twitter, writing: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out.”
In the hourlong call, Trump could be heard telling Raffensperger to “find” the “11,780 votes” needed to reverse his defeat in Georgia, which hadn’t broken for a Democrat in more than 20 years before turning out for Biden in the November election.
The audio prompted criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, with a number of Republicans in Congress coming out against Trump’s remarks in the call.
“It's wrong to go to a secretary of state” and ask him to find votes, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told The Hill this week. “We work our butts off to win elections; after the election we play fair and square.”
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyCheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll Majority in new poll say US headed in wrong direction How Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump MORE (Wyo.), who is the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, also said she found the call “deeply troubling” and said she thinks “everybody ought to listen to the full hour of it.”
Pressed in his recent interview about whether there was any agreement the call between him and Trump would not be recorded, Raffensperger said no and added that he “didn’t know what the purpose of the call really was.” But he said he “assumed it was about the November election.”
“If President Trump wouldn’t have tweeted out anything and would’ve stayed silent, we would’ve stayed silent as well,” Raffensperger said, “and that would have just been a conversation between him and I, man to man, and that would have been just fine with us.”
“But he’s the one that couldn’t — you know, had to put it out on Twitter. And so, if you’re going to put out stuff that we don’t believe is true, then we will respond in kind,” he said.
The back and forth between Trump and Raffensperger, who had previously voted for the president, marks the latest the two have shared as the president has continued to publicly criticize the Republican official for his handling of the election since Georgia went blue for the first time in decades in the presidential race.