‘Racist threats and sexualised texts’: Officials reveal Trump supporters’ backlash as he claimed election fraud
State officials have described how Donald Trump pressured them to overturn results in the US election and said they received a torrent of abuse and threats from his supporters.
The testimony came during a session of the congressional committee that is investigating the Capitol riots in January 2021.
Rusty Bowers, speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, said his office was “saturated” with tens of thousands of emails, voicemails and texts from supporters of Mr Trump after his unfounded claims about election fraud.
He described “disturbing” harassment, including an online smear campaign and a man with a pistol taunting his family and neighbours.
Mr Bowers, a Republican, recalled conversations with Mr Trump, his adviser John Eastman and lawyer Rudy Giuliani as they urged him to reject Arizona’s election result so he could cling to power.
He said Mr Trump had called him after church one Sunday and asked for the state to replace its electors with those who favoured him rather than the true winner, Joe Biden.
“I said, Look, you’re asking me to do something that is counter to my oath,” Mr Bowers testified.
He said the ex-president had also asked him to hold a hearing at the state Capitol – which he refused – and claimed Mr Giuliani had told him: “We’ve got lots of theories [on election fraud], we just don’t have the evidence.”
More on Donald Trump
Capitol riot hearings: Trump dismisses investigation as ‘crazy’ – and says it is ‘wasting everyone’s time’
Capitol riot hearings: Trump ‘poured gasoline on the fire’, White House staffer says
Capitol riot hearings: Donald Trump calls inquiry ‘kangaroo court’ in 12-page rant as inquiry hears he was ‘detached from reality’
- Donald Trump
- US Capitol riots
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his deputy Gabe Sterling also testified.
Mr Raffensperger said Mr Trump had called and asked him to “find 11,780” votes so that he could hold onto the Republican state and block Joe Biden from the White House.
Audio was played that reveals Mr Trump repeatedly citing his fraud claims and suggesting a “criminal offence” if Georgia doesn’t change its result.
The state counted three times before confirming Mr Biden’s narrow win.
Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player
Sexualised texts and racist threats
Mr Raffensperger said his phone number was leaked, leading to countless texts from Trump supporters urging him to quit, while his wife received “sexualised texts”.
A break-in at his daughter-in-law’s home also left him “very concerned”.
The ex-president defended himself on social media and referred to the phone call as “perfect”.
Former Georgia election worker Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss also spoke of threats she received after Mr Trump used her name 18 times in a call with Mr Raffensperger.
She said she had become afraid to say her own name and “felt horrible… like it was all my fault”.
Ms Moss testified: “A lot of threats, wishing death upon me, telling me that I’ll be in jail with my mother… Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920… A lot of them [the threats] were racist. A lot of them were just hateful.”
She said her son had also “heard horrible things about his mom, just because I did my job”.
Mr Trump’s claims that the election was “stolen” culminated in the notorious US Capitol riots, where his supporters stormed the heart of American democracy to try to stop Joe Biden’s election win being certified.
Tuesday’s hearing was the fourth this month looking at the incident, which has been likened by some to an attempted coup.
The seven Democrats and two Republicans on the committee believe Mr Trump’s efforts were illegal and beyond normal political scheming.
He has denied wrongdoing, repeated his claims of election fraud – again without any evidence.