Donald Trump called on Vice President Mike Pence to somehow reject President-elect Joe Biden’s wide Electoral College victory when Congress meets this week to certify the result – his latest brazen move as he attempts to retain power.
“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us. I hope our great vice president comes through for us. He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him very much,” the outgoing president said less than 48 hours before the House and Senate will meet together to count the electoral votes and hear challenges from GOP lawmakers.
The president, to cheers from his supporters in rural Georgia, claimed he won a “landslide” but “communist” Democrats are “playing games.”
Mr Trump, who is reportedly in a dark mood of late as he runs out of options for creating a path to another term, lashed out at senior state officials at a rally that was billed as to support two GOP Senate candidates in runoff elections on Tuesday.
He promised he would be back in the state to campaign against Governor Brian Kemp, a former ally, and its secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger.
“People will remember those who don’t support us,” he said as he continued trying to pressure Republican lawmakers into joining a long shot bid to reject the Electoral College result.
The president was back in the Peach State a day after a recording of a Saturday phone conversation between him and Georgia state elections officials – including Mr Raffensperger, surfaced during which he told those state leaders he wanted them to help him “find” nearly 12,000 votes needed to win the state.
But even some GOP lawmakers who typically side with the president have criticized him for appearing to press state officials to help him unfairly win a state and increase his Electoral College vote tally.
Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, typically a Trump ally, broke with the president over that phone conversation, calling it “one of the things, I think, that everyone has said is that this call was not a helpful call.”
While the outgoing president appears to believe his office has the power to order state officials to take specific actions related to elections, Ms Blackburn and other Republicans see danger in his view.
“Now, one of the things you have seen us talk about with our coalition that is looking at election integrity is sending this issue back to the states. The states are the ones that are going to resolve this issue. We do not have federalized elections in this country,” she told Fox News. “We do not want federalized elections in this country.”
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