Former President Donald Trump pressured two election officials not to certify Joe Biden’s win in a key Michigan county, according to a recently disclosed recording of a post-election phone call in a new report by The Detroit News.
No comment on the call’s legitimacy
The Republican frontrunner’s 2024 campaign neither confirmed nor denied the legitimacy of the recording and insisted in a statement that all of Trump’s actions following his 2020 defeat to Biden were taken to ensure fair elections and to uphold his oath of office.
Trump has consistently repeated lies about the 2020 election during his 2024 presidential run. Numerous federal and state investigations have revealed no evidence of substantial voter fraud that could have changed the election’s outcome.
The November 2020 phone call included Trump, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and two Republican Wayne County election authorities, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, according to The Detroit News.
Trump pressured canvassers
The former president told the two authorities on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers that they would look “terrible” if they certified results after initially opposing certification. The pair ultimately issued signed affidavits that asserted their opposition to certifying Wayne County’s results.
Trump reportedly added, “Everybody knows Detroit is crooked as hell” to the officials of Michigan’s most populous county, which includes Detroit, a Democratic city.
President Biden won Michigan in the 2020 election, with Wayne County providing a trove of Democratic votes. Trump then focused on the key county in the weeks after Election Day 2020.
Trump vs. Democrats
“We’ve got to fight for our country,” Trump reportedly said on the recordings. “We can’t let these people take our country away from us.”
McDaniel backed Trump
GOP Chairwoman McDaniel, a Michigan native, said during the call: “If you can go home tonight, do not sign it,” adding, “We will get you attorneys.” Trump reinforced her point, assuring the Wayne County officials, “We’ll take care of that.”
Trump’s presidential integrity
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement reacting to the news that Trump’s actions “were taken in furtherance of his duty as President of the United States to faithfully take care of the laws and ensure election integrity.”
Cheung repeats false election claims
“President Trump and the American people have the Constitutional right to free and fair elections,” Cheung said, adding that the 2020 election was “rigged and stolen.”
Michigan Secretary of State responds
Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State, said her office would support investigations for “every crime committed in the attempt to overturn the will of Michigan voters.” “We must recognize the direct line between these recordings and the tragedy that occurred at our US Capitol on January 6, 2021,” she added.
Just like in Georgia
The new report is reminiscent of Trump’s tactics in Georgia, where he is charged with calling on the Republican secretary of state to “find” the votes needed to reverse his defeat in the state.
Trump unscathed in Michigan charges
Michigan’s authorities have charged 16 GOP state residents for their alleged role in a false electors scheme that followed the 2020 election, but they haven’t charged former President Trump.