Trump, Georgia secretary of state’s call ‘disappointing,’ GOP Lt. Gov. says
By ANTHONY RIVAS and STEVE OSUNSAMI, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Georgia’s Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said Monday that he was “disappointed” by the hour-long phone call in which President Donald Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the election in his favor, but his focus right now is on getting two Senate Republicans reelected in Tuesday’s runoffs.
“I was disappointed that anybody would give the president that advice to make that phone call in this particular period of time,” Duncan told ABC News. “We are faced with a very, very important election tomorrow here in the state of Georgia that not only Republicans here in the state care about but Republicans all over the country.”
During the Saturday call, Trump cited debunked and dismissed conspiracy theories while repeatedly claiming widespread voter fraud throughout Georgia, even accusing Raffensperger of covering it up. He asked Raffensperger several times to “find” enough votes to hand him the state in November’s general election.
Raffensperger and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp certified the results of the 2020 election in late November, making President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state official. Since then, the state’s ballots have undergone multiple recounts, including by hand.
Raffensperger told ABC News Monday that potential conflicts of interests might hinder an investigation by the State Election Board but said the district attorney of Fulton County, which has been the target of many of Trump’s election fraud claims, may be better suited to investigate the call.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in a statement she had found the call “disturbing” and didn’t rule out investigating it for potential charges.
“As I promised Fulton County voters last year, as district attorney, I will enforce the law without fear or favor. Anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable,” she said.
Duncan said Monday that the “inappropriate” call had “created enough shockwaves and distraction” ahead of Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia, where David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are campaigning not only for another term but for Republican control of the Senate as well. The audio, he said, doesn’t help their chances.
“I can’t think of a single scenario where that phone call for 62-plus minutes made any sort of difference in getting David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler reelected,” Duncan said.
Duncan, who has been in office for two years and who voted for Trump in 2020, says Biden won fairly and that he’s had to enlist a security detail to follow him and his family when they leave home “all because I’m just following the law.”
He said the current moment is a pivotal point for the Republican Party and encouraged people to go with the facts.
“This fanning the flame of misinformation, just because you want to try to flip an election … is not helpful,” he said. “Any Republican that is using this election fraud, it’s just simply an excuse. You’re not willing to do the hard work to convince folks that conservative values work, that they’re meaningful and that they’re worth voting for.”
The longer Republicans fight for Trump on the belief that there’s voter fraud, the longer the party will take to move forward, he said.
“We still have a shot to work hard, but we got to learn from what we didn’t do, and certainly this is a process,” he said. “The longer that we try to use the excuse of voter fraud … the longer it’s going to take for us to build our next platform and to really launch a successful opportunity to see what GOP 2.0 looks like. … I certainly didn’t like the outcome of this election, but we’ve got the chance to improve from here.”
Despite the blowback from his own party, Duncan says he’s at “peace” knowing he’s “doing the right thing.”
“I’ve got to look at my three boys in the face when I go home at night,” he said. “I spent all day trying to tell them to do the right thing — always do the right thing. … That’s kind of the motto around our house. I’m going to look them in the eye. They see dad on TV, they see dad take public positions. I can’t imagine walking in that house one night and telling them, ‘Yeah, I know I couldn’t do the right thing today because the president was leaning on me.’”
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