Days before US Congress meets to certify Joe Biden’s victory in elections, President Donald Trump asked Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to set aside the election results following his defeat by President-elect Biden.
The secretary of state is a state-level position in 47 of the 50 American states. The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii and Utah. The voters directly elect the secretary of state in 35 states. In the other 12, the secretary is appointed by either the governor or the state legislature.
The duties of a secretary of state are generally administrative in nature. The officeholder also often serves as the chief election official in their state, administering state elections and maintaining official election results.
News channel CNN claimed to have obtained the excerpts of the astonishing one-hour call on Saturday. It said Trump hit out at his fellow Republican for his unwillingness to say that he won the Georgia poll and repeatedly projects claims of election fraud.
The phone call story was first reported by the Washington Post. “The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump said in one part of the call, reported CNN. Raffensperger responded, “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
Raffensperger reportedly said the President was relying on baseless conspiracy theories and that Biden’s win in Georgia was fair. Trump rejected their arguments.
The White House has so far refused to comment. CNN claimed officials in Raffensperger’s office recorded the call with Trump on Saturday. Raffensperger reportedly told his advisers that he was against releasing the transcript unless Trump attacked him. Trump tweeted attacking Raffensperger on Sunday morning.
Trump’s tweet said the secretary of state 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 tweeted.