In the audio that has been leaked online of an hour-long phone call that took place on 2 January between Trump, Georgia secretary of stateBrad Raffensperger, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and several lawyers, the president made several alarming statements and claims about the election which could have major repercussions for the president.
The Washington Post released the audio on Sunday. Here are some of the most eyebrow-raising things that the president actually said.
Just seconds into the call and Trump is already making false claims about winning the state of Georgia which Joe Biden won and several recounts haven’t altered the results in the president's favour. Trump’s evidence for this seems based on the number of people he was getting at his campaign rallies.
“So we've spent a lot of time on this and if we could just go over some of the numbers, I think it's pretty clear that we won. We won very substantially in Georgia. You even see it by rally size, frankly. We'd be getting 25-30,000 people a rally and the competition would get less than 100 people. And it never made sense.”
Trump then goes into great detail regarding the many reasons that some people couldn’t vote and the numbers surrounding these claims, mostly in Fulton County, Georgia.
One of his claims is that 5,000 dead people voted in the election. As usual, there is little evidence to support this. Later in the call, Raffensperger confirms that there were only two instances of this. happening.
“The other thing, dead people. So dead people voted and I think the number is close to 5,000 people. And they went to obituaries. They went to all sorts of methods to come up with an accurate number and a minimum is close to about 5,000 voters.”
After Trump’s opening spiel, Meadows jumps in and allows Raffensperger to reply. The official doesn’t take too kindly to what the president said and reiterates that Trump did not win in Georgia.
Trump does not care for this and resorts to spouting conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines, which some of Trump’s inner circle have claimed were rigged for Biden.
“You know, we won the state. If you took, these are the most minimal numbers, the numbers that I gave you, those are numbers that are certified, your absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses, your out of state voters 4,925. You know when you add them up, it's many more times, it's many times the 11,779 number. So we could go through, we have not gone through your Dominion. So we can't give them blessing. I mean, in other states, we think we found tremendous corruption with Dominion machines but we'll have to see.”
After a few words from lawyer Cleta Mitchell, Trump again begins rambling about conspiracy theories which he appears to have read on Twitter.
"We're so far ahead of these numbers, even the phoney ballots of [name redacted], known scammer. You know the Internet? You know what was trending on the Internet? 'Where's [name]?' Because they thought she'd be in jail. 'Where's [name]?' It's crazy, it's crazy. That was. The minimum number is 18,000 for [name], but they think it's probably about 56,000, but the minimum number is 18,000 on the [name] night where she ran back in there when everybody was gone and stuffed, she stuffed the ballot boxes."
Trump then starts complaining about some Republicans not being present when some votes were cast and that some votes were cast three times. This claim is shut down by Georgia official Ryan Germany, who said that these claims had already been investigated and were unsubstantial. Trump says:
“There's only two answers, dishonesty or incompetence. There's just no way. Look. There's no way. And on the other thing, I said too, there is no way. I mean, there's no way that these things could have been you know, you have all these different people that voted but they don't live in Georgia anymore.”
Another bizarre claim that Trump’s team pulls up is that some people moved out of Georgia but then decided to move back. Trump truly struggles to get his head around this concept.
"How many people do that? They moved out and then they said, 'Ah, to hell with it I'll move back.' You know, it doesn't sound like a very normal ... you mean, they moved out, and what, they missed it so much that they wanted to move back in? It's crazy."
Off the back of this, Trump reverts to complaining about Dominion machines again. He claims that some of the machines were taken out of Fulton County and also that some ballots were shredded. Once again, Germany debunks these claims.
Trump then begins spouting more conspiracy theories he has read on the internet and by this point Raffensperger has had enough and tells Trump "that the problem with social media is that people can say anything." Trump doesn’t like and says that he is getting this information from ‘Trump media.’
“Oh this isn't social media. This is Trump media. It's not social media. It's really not it's not social media. I don't care about social media. I couldn't care less. Social media is Big Tech. Big Tech is on your side. I don't even know why you have a side, because you should want to have an accurate election. And you're a Republican.”
After some more squabbling, Trump goes on a huge rant and says something that might come back to haunt him: that he wants to find the exact number of votes that we help him win Georgia.
“You know, I mean, I'm notifying you that you're letting it happen. 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.”
This line could go down in history – it has already become a meme.
Trump asks for 11,780 votes, but it's to the tune of the Rent song
— The Gregory Brothers (@The Gregory Brothers)
Trump rants for a few more minutes about more numbers which are again debunked by Germany, who also corrects Trump when the president claims that all the mail-in ballots were for Biden. The president lashes out at Germany for this asking him “What’s wrong with you?” but also complimenting his name.
“No, they were 100 per cent for Biden. 100 per cent. There wasn't a Trump vote in the whole group. Why don't you want to find this, Ryan? What's wrong with you? I heard your lawyer is very difficult, actually, but I'm sure you're a good lawyer. You have a nice last name.”
Raffensperger interjects and defends their numbers. At this point Trump appears to be giving up on this phone call but still wants people to know what his goal is.
"You just say, you stick by, I mean I've been watching you, you know, you don't care about anything. ‘Your numbers are right.’ But your numbers aren't right. They're really wrong and they're really wrong, Brad. And I know this phone call is going nowhere other than, other than ultimately, you know… Look ultimately, I win, okay?"
Kurt Hilbert, another Trump lawyer, pipes up complaining that they’ve not been allowed to see all the data from Georgia that they have requested. Germany says that they are entitled to some parts of it but under law there are some bits of information that they cannot give out. Again, Trump does not like this.
“Well, you have to. Well, under the law you're not allowed to give faulty election results, OK? You're not allowed to do that. And that's what you done. This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast.”
Trump wraps up the conversation by claiming that he won by 400,000 votes but that he actually doesn’t even need that many.
“We just want the truth. It's simple. And everyone's going to look very good if the truth comes out. It's OK. It takes a little while but let the truth come out. And the real truth is I won by 400,000 votes. At least. That's the real truth. But we don't need 400,000. We need less than 2,000 votes.”
It remains to be seen what will happen to Trump and if this phone call will have any repercussions but as Intelligencer reports, the president could have ‘violated federal and state statutes aimed at guarding against the solicitation of election fraud.’
Regardless, it still appears that Trump believes that he won this election and will fight the results until the bitter end, meaning we are in for a few bumpy days before Biden’s inauguration on 20 January.