Washington Post retracts bogus Trump quotes about Georgia election … two months later
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March 16, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The Washington Post has walked back one of its most explosive claims about former President Donald Trump’s reaction to election irregularities in Georgia, two months after the story helped fuel a left-wing narrative that Trump was trying to steal the 2020 presidential election rather than stop it from being stolen.
As was widely covered at the time, The Post reported in January that Trump had asked Georgia chief election investigator Frances Watson to “find the fraud,” for which she would become a “national hero,” during a December phone call. This was used as evidence that Trump was attempting to pressure state officials to manipulate vote totals in his favor, and was specifically cited in Democrats’ second unsuccessful attempt to impeach the 45th president.
After The Wall Street Journal’s release of the actual call audio on March 11, however, The Post issued the following “correction,” alongside a separate story identifying Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs as the source of the original false quotes:
Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump’s December phone call with the state’s top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to “find the fraud” or say she would be “a national hero” if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find “dishonesty” there. He also told her that she had “the most important job in the country right now.” A story about the recording can be found here. The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.
“I hope you go back two years as opposed to just checking one against the other because that would just be sort of a signature check that doesn’t mean anything,” Trump actually told Watson. “But if you go back two years, and if you can get to (Fulton County), you are going to find things that are unbelievable. The dishonesty.”
“When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” he also said.
Trump responded to the revelation by calling it yet another example of the mainstream media’s dishonesty, The Federalist reported.
“Stories that hurt Democrats or undermine their narratives are buried, ignored, or delayed until they can do the least harm — for example, after an election is over,” he lamented. “This latest media travesty underscores that legacy media outlets should be regarded as political entities — not journalistic enterprises.”
Trump’s political enemies, such as Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, responded to the news by stressing that the correction only applies to Trump’s call to Watson, not a different call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger:
Wrong call... the correction was on a call to an elections investigator. This one I’m discussing was Raffensperger call, which had audio, wasn’t changed and still stands. Your apology is accepted. #TheMoreYouKnow #TellTheTruth @COUNTRY_F1RST https://t.co/v6xxVeOv9E— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) March 16, 2021
However, as LifeSite covered at the time, the prevailing media narrative regarding that call misrepresented its contents, as well.
That call, in which White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell, and Raffensperger’s general counsel, Ryan Germany, also participated, concerned the Trump campaign’s demands that Georgia officials do more to investigate allegations of fraud that, Trump insisted, would more than show that former Vice President Joe Biden did not win the state after all.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said during the call, which was quickly reported and amplified as Trump wanting Georgia officials to manipulate the vote totals on his behalf.
While some Trump-friendly conservatives such as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York felt that quote and similar statements went “over the line of propriety,” the actual audio of that call also showed that Trump believes he legitimately won, and was only asking Raffensperger to investigate and invalidate a sufficient amount of fraud to reflect that.