First he begged – then he threatened: US President Donald Trump asked a senior US politician on the phone to “find” votes. American and German media are outraged.
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The elected US President Donald Trump still stubbornly refuses to admit his defeat to Joe Biden. In order to remain in office, every means seems right to him – including threats and intimidation. In a one-hour phone call, he put the high-ranking government official Brad Raffensperger from Georgia and his lawyer under massive pressure. The “Washington Post” published a recording of the telephone conversation last Sunday.
During the conversation, Trump called on Raffensperger to help him “find” the 11,780 votes that he believed he would be entitled to in the presidential election. When the state’s Secretary of State refused – comparable to a German interior minister – Trump changed his pleading tone and threatened him with legal consequences – a border crossing and a threat to democracy, as commented by the US media. German media have also positioned themselves to intimidate the US president. A selection of reactions.
Washington Post: Trump sounds like a mafioso
The Washington Post headlines “Trump Knows No Boundaries Trying to Overturn the Election”. According to the capital media, Trump is only 16 days in office, but there is “no doubt that he will use all of his remaining time in office to do as much damage to democracy as possible – and is supported by members of one now divided Republican Party. “
The Washington Post continues: “The call was (…) as outrageous as it was daunting. Legal experts can debate how close to the border Trump was with the phone call. Others can speculate about the current state of mind of the president. The content the call speaks for itself, and the audio excerpts should be heard by anyone who cares about the integrity of the American election. “
In another comment, the US medium sharply condemned Trump’s attempt to change the election in his favor. So the title says, “It’s indictable. It’s probably illegal. It’s a coup.” Jennifer Rubin, columnist for the “Washington Post”, calls for consequences for Trump, “who sounds like a mafioso as so often”:
“There has to be a response to a president who abuses his office with the aim of rigging an election. The evidence is on tape. The next attorney general should act, if for no other reason, at least that, to reject further attempts like this I would also suggest an impeachment process that could include a future ban, only we already know that Republicans will defend whatever Trump does. ”
“CNN”: Trump’s call is a “bomb”
The news channel “CNN” calls the call a “bomb”. It is a “harrowing phone call” that represents “the most serious threat to American democracy from his (Trump’s) authoritarian instincts to date.”
In another post, the news channel sees only two explanations for the US President’s absurd behavior: “If you listen to Trump trying to suppress the facts, you hear a man who is either completely removed from reality or himself cowardly has committed to the destruction of democracy in order to maintain its power, “writes CNN.
“The New York Times”: “A remarkable deed by a defeated president”
The “New York Times” sees Trump’s phone call as a border crossing. “The attempt to persuade and intimidate elected officials in his own party – which some legal experts believe could be prosecuted under the Georgia case law – has been a remarkable act by a defeated president who tries to break legal and ethical boundaries to stay in power, “writes the daily.
The White House: Trump had been on the phone with the Georgia Home Secretary for an hour. (Source: Ken Cedeno / Reuters)
“Süddeutsche Zeitung”: “One tape – again”
In Germany, too, people look spellbound and stunned at the spectacle with which the outgoing US president is leaving his office. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” headlined: “On the line: Trump, the godfather”, and wrote that his call was “unprecedented – and maybe even criminal”.
But his act is actually not that unprecedented, says the newspaper from Munich: “A tape, again. Exactly a year ago, Donald Trump had the impeachment procedure on his neck, which resulted in a controversial phone call between the US President and his Ukrainian counterpart A few months later, in the middle of the election campaign, investigative journalist Bob Woodward released recordings of interviews that made Trump’s coronavirus policies look bad. And now the New Year in Washington has begun with another tape recording of Trump. The outrage about it: almost as big as the first two times. “
“Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”: “Politically, Trump has no chance of success”
For the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” it is clear after the publication of the phone call: “Politically, Trump has no chance of success, legally he is on thin ice.” The newspaper writes: “In the conversation you can hear threats and lies that could also be legally problematic for Trump.”
“World”: Trump in a “parallel world”
Die Welt writes that the audio recording of the phone call shows the “parallel world” the US President is currently in: “Anyone who hears the recording perceives a man who is trying with all means to overturn the result of the election. Trump leads under Among other things, as evidence of his victory in Georgia, the – alleged – number of visitors to his rallies. He also refers to statements by unnamed from other states as well as trends in the social media. In this way he cultivates his myth that he is undefeated by Biden. “