President Donald Trump’s Saturday phone call to Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp “bordered on criminality,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told CNN.
Trump called Kemp to demand that the governor take action to nullify the votes that gave Joe Biden a victory in the state.
“Georgia is not going to have its reputation ruined by some stupid damn thing that Trump is trying to do that’s outside the realm of reality,” the former senator said.
“Trump is … out of touch with reality,” Reid said earlier. “The Republican secretary of state in Georgia has been very strong. Georgia is a state that is not going to allow this foolishness to continue. They had an election. They’ve proved it. They’ve certified it.”
Reid said the president’s move to undermine the election is “one of many things Trump has done that bordered on criminality,” presumably because of election interference.
It was at least the second time Trump demanded Kemp do something to overturn his loss in the state — and the second time the governor turned him down, according to media reports. Kemp explained that he doesn’t have the power to countermand a presidential election in a democracy.
Trump pushed Kemp on Saturday to call a special session of the Georgia legislature to throw out the results and appoint electors who would back Trump instead, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Trump also urged the governor to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures in the state — a request that Kemp has repeatedly said he has no authority to fulfill.
Kemp’s office said in a statement to NBC News that Georgia law prohibited the governor from interfering in elections.
“As the governor has said repeatedly, he will continue to follow the law and encourage the secretary of state to take reasonable steps — including a sample audit of signatures — to restore trust and address serious issues that have been raised,” the statement said.
Georgia ballots have already been counted three times — and have been certified — yet Trump has repeatedly claimed with no evidence that the election was rigged. Lawsuits challenging the vote have so far not gained any traction in several states.
Yet Trump has relentlessly blasted the governor he previously endorsed for refusing to interfere in election results.
CNN, citing unnamed sources, reported Friday that Trump called Kemp a “moron” and a “nut job” in a recent phone call.
Trump on Sunday said he was disappointed that Kemp did “absolutely nothing” to interfere in the election. “I’m ashamed that I endorsed him,” the president said angrily on Fox News.
Republicans fear that Trump will blast the Republican governor at a Saturday rally in Georgia — causing dissension and confusion among GOP residents — instead of working to get the vote out for Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom are engaged in competitive reelection campaigns ahead of a runoff election on Jan. 5. The winners of that election will determine which party controls the Senate.
Some Republicans are urging voters to boycott the runoff unless an investigation is launched into the presidential election results.
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