In a significant development related to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, newly released audio recordings have revealed that former President Donald Trump personally contacted two Michigan election officials, urging them not to certify the vote for Joe Biden. The call, which took place on November 17, 2020, is seen by many as further evidence of Trump’s efforts to influence the election results.
The officials, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, were Republican canvassers in Wayne County, Michigan’s most populous district, which includes Detroit. During the call, Trump reportedly told them they would look “terrible” if they certified the vote for Biden. Also present on the call was Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and a Michigan native.
According to The Detroit News, Trump implored Palmer and Hartmann to “fight for our country,” asserting that Republicans had been “cheated on this election” and claiming that “everybody knows Detroit is crooked as hell.” The call was recorded by an individual present during the conversation.
At the time of the call, Palmer and Hartmann were outside the office of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, where a meeting was being held. McDaniel reportedly urged the pair to go home without signing the official statement of votes, with Trump adding, “We’ll take care of that.”
The following day, Palmer and Hartmann attempted to rescind their votes in favor of certification, citing “intense bullying and coercion” and poor legal advice. However, their refusal to sign was ultimately overruled by the Michigan Bureau of Elections.
Trump’s actions during the call have been criticized by Jonathan Kinloch, one of the two Democrats on the Wayne County board at the time. He described the incident as “shocking” and indicative of the former president’s direct involvement in attempting to disrupt the election process.
In response to the revelations, McDaniel defended the call, emphasizing the need for an audit due to alleged evidence of irregularities. Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung stated that Trump’s actions were in line with his presidential duties to ensure election integrity.
This revelation adds another layer to the ongoing discussions and controversies surrounding the 2020 Presidential Election, highlighting the extent of efforts to challenge the election results.