Another Perfect Beautiful Trump Call

by Dick Polman
[cartoon id="247110"] Leave it to Trump to cap off his catastrophic tenure by tripling down on the criminal behavior that got him impeached in the first place. It’s safe to assume that Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, never imagined he’d be muscled like Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky. Spineless Senate Republicans exonerated Trump last winter after he tried to extort Zelensky in exchange for fake dirt that might help him win re-election. They thought that Trump deserved a second chance, that perhaps he’d learned his lesson. But sociopathic liars tend not to be reflective. And sure enough, on the phone this weekend (recorded for posterity), Trump tried to bully Raffensperger into faking the vote tally in order to help him win re-election. “I have to find 12,000 votes and I have them times a lot. And therefore, I won the state…So what are we going to do here folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.” By the way, that’s a federal crime. According to 52 U.S.C § 20511(2)(B), “A person…who in any election for federal office…knowingly or willingly deprives or defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process” shall be fined or imprisoned. But since Trump sincerely believes his own lies, since he has apparently convinced himself that his repeatedly certified election defeat was not fair and impartial, he could probably skate on this charge by pleading insanity. I doubt the recording of his begging and pleading and cajoling and threatening, which reeks with flop sweat, will ever be featured at the Trump presidential library, but so what. Schoolkids for generations to come can find it with a finger tap, and hear for themselves what it was like when the world’s stupidest mob boss - circling the drain, his power on the wane - desperately sought to destroy democracy. Among other things, Trump claimed the Dominion voting machine company has disassembled and hidden their crooked machinery (a delusional lie), that hundreds of thousands of Trump ballots were burned or shredded (“that’s what the rumor is”), that 4,925 voters came from out of state, that 18,000 fake votes for Joe Biden arrived in “suitcases or trunks,” plus there were “dead people. So dead people voted and I think the number is close to 5,000 people.” Raffensperger’s response was priceless: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.” For instance, regarding dead people voting, “the actual number were two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted.” It’s actually fascinating to hear Trump in action, because what’s arguably most noteworthy is that he never listens. Confronted with a stone wall of facts, he just flattens himself against it and keeps talking. For instance: “There’s turmoil in Georgia and other places. You’re not the only one, I mean we have other states that I believe will be flipping to us very shortly.” No state is “flipping” to him. Nobody is coming to save him. But perhaps Trump’s most despicable moment was when he threatened Raffensperger with federal prosecution. He lied that Raffensperger was protecting the (non-existent) election fraudsters: “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you…they are shredding ballots, in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard. And they are removing machinery and they’re moving it as fast as they can, both of which are criminal finds. And you can’t let it happen and you are letting it happen. You know, I mean, I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen.” By the way, Trump appears to have committed a Georgia crime. Under state law, anyone who “solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage” in election fraud is, by definition, a criminal. Trump won’t be prosecuted for his latest offenses, of course, but what we can say with full confidence is that his Saturday phone call makes his last-ditch congressional allies look like fools. They’re vowing, in this week’s Electoral College counting ceremony, to dispute Biden’s decisive victory by taking an Orwellian stand for clean elections - yet here was their Leader, in his own recorded words, making it crystal clear that he’s the aspiring fraudster who wanted to steal a clean election. Naturally, the traitors who are poised to do his authoritarian bidding will stick with him anyway, but for those of us in the sane majority, one thing is clear: He will desecrate the White House - our house - until his last moments in office. But Raffensperger deserves the last word, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After weathering Trump’s opening salvo of lies, he merely said: “Um, we don’t agree that you have won.” - Copyright 2020 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at [email protected]