“I commend Republican electoral officials across the country who have performed their duties with integrity for the past two months while facing relentless pressure, disinformation and attacks from the president and his campaign,” Toomey said.
The bombshell audio – first received by the Washington Post – is just the latest example of how Trump’s long-term drive to stay in power has splintered his own party ahead of two crucial trick-taking competitions in Georgia that will determine whether the Republicans will retain their Senate majority.
GOP conference chair Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican who frequently shouts the president, said the recording was “deeply disturbing” and urged people to “listen to it for the hour.”
And Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), One of the loudest Trump critics in recent months, described the recorded conversation as “absolutely horrific”.
“For any member of Congress who is considering objecting to the election results, one cannot do so with a clear conscience,” he tweeted.
News of Trump’s taped conversation comes as the GOP prepares for an intra-party showdown on Jan. 6, when Congress is due to confirm the November 3 election results. Dozens of House Republicans, led by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala), and at least 12 Senate Republicans plan to object to Biden’s victory after Trump unsubstantiatedly alleged that he committed widespread electoral fraud.
The president was relatively silent about the call to Raffensperger, but on Monday he called the Republicans unwilling to question Biden’s election victory the “surrender caucus”.
Most of the Republicans who criticized Trump’s call are the same lawmakers who want to speak out against the anti-certification efforts. But even some of his supporters admitted that Trump’s conversation with Raffensperger is doing the GOP a disservice.
“I think one of the things everyone said is that that call wasn’t a helpful call,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) Said of Fox and Friends. Blackburn is one of 12 Senate Republicans planning to object to Biden’s win on Wednesday.
However, other Republicans came to Trump’s defense or shook the episode off entirely. While Minority Chairman Kevin McCarthy refused to answer questions from reporters at the Capitol about the call, he appeared to downplay the conversation during an interview on Fox News.
“The president has always been concerned about the integrity of the election,” said McCarthy, a close ally of Trump. “And the president believes there are things that happened in Georgia and he wants to see responsibility for them.”
Meanwhile, Libertarian Republican MP Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Who for constitutional reasons does not intend to question the election results, quipped that Trump’s call to Raffensberger was “pretty mild compared to the calls I received “the president before.
For their part, Congress Democrats have also begun developing strategies for Wednesday’s long session. The House Democrats held a caucus call on Monday with spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi calling on members to be “worthy” throughout the process.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Who was appointed by the Biden administration as director of engagement in the White House, also advised his colleagues to keep cool heads before the GOP electoral college.
“You don’t argue with fools because at some distance you can’t tell who the fool is,” Richmond told members, as several callers said.
Raffensperger’s appeal has sparked renewed calls from some Democrats to indict Trump, who is still in office for 16 days. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) Made it clear at his weekly press conference that this is not a path the House will follow.
“We’re not looking back, we’re happy,” he said.
Heather Caygle and Quint Forgey contributed to this.