Republicans React to Donald Trump Pressuring Georgia Official to 'Find 11,780 Votes'

Some Republicans reacted strongly to President Donald Trump pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find me 11,780 votes," but most GOP lawmakers remained silent on Sunday as their Democratic colleagues condemned the "immoral" effort to reverse his election defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.

In an hour-long recording of a call on Saturday afternoon, obtained by the Washington Post, Trump aggressively attempted to persuade Raffensperger, a Republican, to find him enough votes to overturn the Georgia election in his favor. The president threatened the official, begged, flattered and warned that he would be taking a "big risk" if he refused to help his efforts at securing re-election.

The conversation heated up after Raffensperger denied the president's request, explained that his allegations of voter fraud had been debunked, and asserted that Biden won fairly.

"The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry," Trump told the official. "And there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you've recalculated."

"All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes...Because we won the state."

A few Republicans quickly condemned Trump's behavior, but most GOP lawmakers in Congress have kept quiet. Others defended the president and criticized the release of his "confidential" phone call.

"This is absolutely appalling," tweeted Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. "To every member of Congress considering objecting to the election results, you cannot—in light of this—do so with a clean conscience. #RestoreOurGOP"

This is absolutely appalling. To every member of Congress considering objecting to the election results, you cannot- in light of this- do so with a clean conscience. #RestoreOurGOP https://t.co/5UzrK4G0Jn

— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 3, 2021

"Republicans, there is no defense for this. None," former Arizona GOP Senator Jeff Flake tweeted.

Republicans, there is no defense for this. None. https://t.co/YfVgJRgNfr

— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 3, 2021

Former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, who's currently chairman of the Texas Forever Forward PAC, accused Trump of "trying to dismantle our democracy by seeking to invalidate an election he lost" following reports of the call.

"Anyone who supports this effort is demonstrating a disregard for the U.S. Constitution, the will of the American people, the sanctity of the electoral process, and the rule of law," he said.

Donald Trump is trying to dismantle our democracy by seeking to invalidate an election he lost. Anyone who supports this effort is demonstrating a disregard for the U.S. Constitution, the will of the American people, the sanctity of the electoral process, and the rule of law.

— Joe Straus (@SpeakerStraus) January 3, 2021

Errol Webber, a Republican candidate for governor of California, called the release of the "confidential" Trump phone conversation "illegal."

So now it’s okay to just illegally release confidential phone calls with the President? Wow! #TrumpTapes

— Errol Webber For CA Governor (@ErrolWebber) January 3, 2021

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers denounced Trump for threatening Raffensperger, with some suggesting that he had committed a criminal act by attempting to steal the election.

Congressman Adam Schiff of California expressed his belief that Trump's call was "among his most despicable abuses of power from a long list."

"Possibly criminal, morally repugnant, virulently anti-democratic," he said. "If it's potentially criminal, then it's potentially impeachable."

.@RepAdamSchiff to @elwasson: Trump’s phone call to GA Sec of state “among his most despicable abuses of power from a long list.”

“Possibly criminal, morally repugnant, virulently anti-democratic.”

“If it’s potentially criminal, then it’s potentially impeachable.”

— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) January 3, 2021

New York Congressman Jerry Nadler insisted that Trump is "profoundly unfit for office" in a statement.

"In threatening these officials with vague 'criminal' consequences, and in encouraging them to 'find' additional votes and hire investigators who 'want to find answers,' the President may have also subjected himself to additional criminal liability," Nadler said. "Both tactics are reckless, deeply selfish, and place love of power over commitment to our democratic process."

Trump’s phone call threatening Georgia’s Sec of State to change election results is outrageous and clearly shows he is profoundly unfit for office.

Read my full statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/A6rOAE77ep

— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) January 3, 2021

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon tweeted, "Trump's call pushing the GA Secretary of State to doctor the election outcome is an immoral attempt to manipulate the election and a potential criminal act. January 20 can't come soon enough."

Trump’s call pushing the GA Secretary of State to doctor the election outcome is an immoral attempt to manipulate the election and a potential criminal act. January 20 can’t come soon enough.

— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) January 3, 2021

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

Donald Trump and Air Force One
US President Donald Trump boards Airforce One while departing from Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on December 31, 2020, as he travels back to Washington, DC after his Christmas holiday break in Mar-a-Lago. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images/Getty