Fact check: Trump falsely claims Raffensperger said former president ‘didn’t do anything wrong on their 2021 phone call

Trump president: Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, has consistently expressed his reservations about a phone call that occurred on January 2, 2021. In this conversation, former President Donald Trump made multiple unsubstantiated claims of election fraud and applied pressure on Raffensperger to examine and potentially modify the election outcomes in Georgia to favor him, as he sought to reverse his 2020 election loss.

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired on Sunday, former President Donald Trump asserted that Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, had recently stated that Trump’s conduct during their January 2021 phone call was entirely acceptable.

Trump stated, “The phone call occurred in the presence of, I believe, seven or eight lawyers.” Brad Raffensperger, the head – who, incidentally, mentioned last week that I didn’t commit any wrongdoing. He described it as a negotiation. I appreciate his acknowledgment. However, he did state last week that I was in the clear.”


Trump repeated this claim later, emphasizing that Raffensperger “last week said I didn’t do anything wrong.”

However, it is important to clarify that Trump’s statement is untrue. Raffensperger did not make any such statement, and this assertion by Trump is one of several false claims he made during the “Meet the Press” interview. Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign did not provide any explanation for the supposed Raffensperger remark Trump referred to.

When contacted for comment, Raffensperger’s office chose not to respond. Nevertheless, a review of Raffensperger’s recent public statements clearly indicates that he did not express a sentiment similar to what Trump claimed he did.


Brad raffensperger’s recent statements regarding the January 2021

phone call with Donald Trump to clarify the context and his stance. It’s possible that Trump mischaracterized Raffensperger’s testimony from a late-August court hearing related to former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ Georgia criminal case.

During his testimony, Raffensperger did not assert that Trump did nothing wrong or defend Trump’s words. Instead, he mentioned that he did not find Meadows’ comment on the call inappropriate. Specifically, Raffensperger testified that he didn’t interpret Meadows’ statement as inappropriate when Meadows expressed hope for an agreement to allow a closer examination of election data. This comment pertained solely to Meadows’ words, not Trump’s.

Raffensperger has made various other recent comments about Trump and the call, none of which defended the former president’s remarks. In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal in early September, he criticized efforts to disqualify Trump from the 2024 ballot using the 14th Amendment on the grounds of insurrection or rebellion against the US. Raffensperger argued against denying voters the opportunity to choose, but he did not mention the January call in that context.

During a Fox interview focused on the op-ed, Raffensperger explained that he had conducted due diligence before the call and was aware that Trump’s claims of election fraud were baseless. However, he did not defend Trump’s behavior in this regard.

In June, Raffensperger even challenged Trump to a debate regarding the legitimacy of the 2020 election in Georgia, asserting that he had the facts on his side while Trump did not. These statements collectively underscore that Raffensperger did not defend Trump’s conduct during the January 2021 call


What Raffensperger has actually said about the call

Brad Raffensperger has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump’s conduct during their January 2021 phone call, offering extensive commentary on the matter. In his book, “Integrity Counts,” released in late 2021, Raffensperger meticulously analyzed the entire transcript of the call, providing a point-by-point rebuke of various Trump comments.

Raffensperger conveyed that he believed the president was urging him to take actions he knew were ethically wrong, firmly asserting his refusal to comply with such requests. He highlighted that the facts did not support Trump’s statements and criticized the former president’s repeated requests for votes, which, in his view, reflected a fundamental misunderstanding of how elections function.

Furthermore, Raffensperger revealed that when Trump remarked during the call that it would be “very dangerous” for him to deny criminality in Georgia’s election, he perceived this as a threat—a sentiment that still holds true today. He also criticized Trump’s attempts to manipulate by invoking potential criminal consequences for himself and his lawyer, Ryan Germany, if they didn’t adhere to Trump’s directives, even though Trump’s claims of ballot corruption were unsubstantiated.

Raffensperger did not mince words when addressing Trump’s months-long campaign to undermine public confidence in the election. He noted that, from well before the election and continuing afterward, Trump consistently attacked the foundational principles of American democracy and eroded trust in electoral institutions. Raffensperger saw his duty as preventing Trump from overturning the will of Georgia’s voters and safeguarding the integrity of the democratic process.

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