U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp as he arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., July 15, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
President Donald Trump called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday and asked him to convince state legislators to help overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Georgia and permit an audit of signatures on absentee ballots.
The request is Trump’s latest attempt to interfere with the results of the 2020 presidential election in a state where two GOP Senate runoff races in January could decide which party controls the Senate. The call was first reported by The Washington Post.
Trump has argued without evidence that Georgia election officials took voter ballots with signatures that didn’t match the ones on file. A recount in Georgia following the election affirmed Biden’s victory and the results have been certified.
The president referenced the call in a tweet on Saturday afternoon, calling for a signature audit of Georgia’s absentee ballots and claiming discrepancies in the process.
“I will easily & quickly win Georgia if Governor @BrianKempGA or the Secretary of State permit a simple signature verification,” Trump wrote. “Has not been done and will show large scale discrepancies. Why are these two “Republicans” saying no? If we win Georgia, everything else falls in place!”
Kemp, a Republican and longtime Trump ally, wrote on Saturday in response to the president’s tweet: “As I told the President this morning, I’ve publicly called for a signature audit three times (11/20, 11/24, 12/3) to restore confidence in our election process and to ensure that only legal votes are counted in Georgia.”
In another tweet, the president urged Kemp to “immediately” request a special session in the state legislature.
The governor reportedly declined the president’s request during the call, an anonymous source told The Post. Kemp’s office’s has said publicly that state law prohibits the governor from interfering in elections.
Gabriel Sterling, a Republican official in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, said Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud have endangered election officials by inciting death threats and harassment.
Kemp spokesman Cody Hall confirmed that the president called the governor, but only said that Trump offered his condolences on the death of Harrison Deal, a young aide for Sen. Kelly Loeffler. CNBC has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.
Trump is campaigning for Sens. Loeffler and David Perdue in the state tonight, who are facing runoff elections against Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
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