Fox News contributor Karl Rove joined other Republicans on Monday in openly criticizing President Donald Trump’s “unseemly” call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he urged the Republican official to “find” 11,780 more votes in his favor to flip the state from President-elect Joe Biden.
In a potentially legally perilous call over the weekend, the president spent an hour attempting to shake down Raffensperger while parroting unhinged conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud. A recording of the call, which featured the Georgia secretary of state repeatedly debunking Trump’s false claims and rebuffing his requests to overturn the election, was later leaked to The Washington Post.
During Monday’s broadcast of Fox News panel show Outnumbered, Rove—who has been critical of Trump’s efforts to overthrow Biden’s victory—was asked by lead anchor Harris Faulkner to respond to the “shock over one Republican recording that” call.
“Well, first of all, we shouldn’t be surprised,” Rove noted. “People are people, and the president has heaped abuse on the Georgia secretary of state in a deeply personal way for basically the last two months. Brad Raffensperger decided he was going to get his revenge, so he tape-recorded the call.”
“I don’t think the president should have made the call,” he added. “This is one that was for the lawyers to make. Say we want to have a meeting. Can we find some agreement? We’ve got some things that we are concerned about.”
The veteran Republican strategist, who is currently leading the GOP Senate’s fundraising efforts in Georgia, continued to blast the president’s attempt to pressure Georgia officials to subvert the will of voters.
“But it is unseemly for him to be on that call, making those kinds of comments, and begging for Raffensperger to somehow find 11,780 votes to flip Georgia,” he declared, adding, “The president has been ill-served in this whole process.”
Rove further took issue with some of the bogus claims Trump made during the call, specifically his outlandish assertion that he’s “certified” that 50,000 Georgian voters showed up on Election Day but weren’t allowed to vote.
“We would have people storming out of the polls if one out of every 20 voters was turned away because someone had already cast a ballot in their name, and they haven’t sent in the ballot, we would have heard about that,” he exclaimed. “Yet somebody told the president that, and he tried to make the case to the secretary of state of Georgia that, ‘I’ve got a list, and I’m going to give it to you and I’m going to give it to you in a few days and it’s been certified by public accountants of 50,000 voters who on Election Day were turned away.’”
“It boggles my mind!” Rove concluded.
The president’s call, which occurred just days ahead of House and Senate Republicans’ last-ditch undemocratic ploy to object to the election results and reverse Biden’s victory, has resulted in condemnation from some Republicans and conservatives.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who has been highly critical of the GOP’s refusal to accept Trump’s decisive defeat, said the phone call was “absolutely appalling.” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who will join a dozen other GOP senators in objecting to the Electoral College certification, said the conversation with Raffensperger was “not a helpful call.”
Other Republicans, including Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), a candidate in this week’s Georgia senatorial runoff elections, have brushed aside the call and instead taken issue with Raffensperger for recording the conversation, calling it “disgusting” while shrugging off Trump’s remarks.