By now everyone has likely heard about the hour long phone call between Donald Trump, his chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a bunch of his lawyers, and Brad Ratffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state together with his General Counsel. I listened to most of the telephone call and it really did sound as Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the Justice Department, described it commented on Twitter as reported by John Cassidy in the New Yorker,
“The entire call is astonishing, the bullying, the threats, the insults, the credulous embrace of discredited conspiracy theories. Like a crime boss, Trump occasionally says that all he wants is the truth. But he doesn’t—he wants the win.”
Trump wanted Raffensperger to kick the election his way. Simple. Find the votes—somewhere. So Trump leaned on Raffensperger.
President Trump rambled on for many minutes, as he tends to do, urging Raffensperger the Republican Secretary of State, whose job it was to certify the election results in Georgia, a state that Trump narrowly lost by to find the 11,780 votes he needed to overturn Biden who beat him by a measly 11,779 votes. Trump and his allies were trying to get the Secretary of State to override the will of the voters of Georgia in his favour based on dubious discredited claims of various irregularities.
As Cassidy reported,
“Raffensperger and his general counsel, who was also on the call, calmly pointed out that his office had investigated all of these claims and found them to be false. (Georgia’s state supreme court and a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush rejected the Trump campaign’s claims as well.)”
Raffefsperger quietly and repeatedly told the president he was not telling the truth and the truth would come out. The “facts” Trump was relying on where not true. But Trump was not deterred by the truth coming out. He never is. It doesn’t even phase him. Instead he reverted to bullying. Again a typical Trump response.
Trump responded like a true wanna-be despot: Trump wasn’t to be put off. “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need eleven thousand votes,” he repeated. “Fellas, I need eleven thousand votes. Give me a break.” Find me the votes.it didn’t matter where. Raffensperger could admit he made a mistake or whatever. It didn’t matter how he explained it. What mattered was that he found 11,800 votes. The crime boss was pleading. But, he did not stop there. He strongly suggested to the Secretary of State that the people of Georgia would be angry with him and the act of refusing to do what Trump asked for was illegal and he and his General Counsel could get in trouble for that. Nothing like a little muscle when asking nicely doesn’t work.
Yet bravely, Republican Brad Raffensperger stood up to the President of the United States to uphold the truth. Americans should be proud, but there are still a lot of people who support Trump in his efforts to defeat the will of the majority of the people of Georgia. That is the real issue here.
To say that Trump is a wanna-be autocrat is not interesting any more. It is too well known. What is scary is that so many Republicans agree with this. So far more than 100 Congressmen and 11 Senators have said they will support Trump in his plan to overturn the election on January 6, 2020 when the two houses of the American Congress will be asked to ratify the electoral college vote. Normally that is a mere formality. Not this time. Vice-president Mike Pence will be presiding. Ominously this is what Pence has already said, as reported by John Cassidy:
“Soon after this news emerged, Vice-President Mike Pence, a politician who gives invertebrates a bad name, issued a statement saying that he “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”
It could be very interesting to see how far down the slope to fascism the Republican Party will go on January 6, 2020. Keep watch. We should all do that. Who said the price of liberty is eternal vigilance?