The Lead

Trump pressures Pa. Senate GOP to approve legislative audit of 2020 election

By: - June 4, 2021 1:23 pm

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 27: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump gave the speech in front of 1500 invited guests. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

*This story was updated at 3:05 p.m. on Friday, 6/4/21,with a response from Senate President Pro-Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, and at 5:55 p.m. with a statement from Senate State Government Committee Chairman David Argall, R-Schuylkill. 

Former President Donald Trump issued a statement Friday backing a legislative audit of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.

Trump celebrated the three Pennsylvania lawmakers who visited a similar audit in Arizona this week — including state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin — and name checked two senior Republican Senate leaders to approve their own audit in Pennsylvania.

“Senate President Jake Corman needs to fulfill his promise to his constituents to conduct a full Forensic Audit. Senator Dave Argall, Chairman of the State Government Committee, has to authorize the subpoenas, if necessary,” Trump said in the emailed statement. “The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth. If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!”

After colleagues visit Arizona, top Pa. Senate Republican weighs election audit; House GOP says no

A spokesperson for Corman declined to comment. In a statement, Argall said he supports an audit, which could be approved by the Senate in the coming weeks.

“This is the best path forward to address the legitimate concerns of the large majority of my constituents who voted to re-elect President Trump, as well as all Pennsylvanians,” Argall said.

From federal judges to county elections officials to his own attorney general, multiple parties have dismissed Trump’s claims of fraud as baseless.

But still, Trump waged a months-long misinformation driven legal campaign to overturn his loss to Joe Biden last November.

And since leaving office in January, has pushed his allies in the Republican Party to approve these audits in swing states. Only the Arizona Senate has so far approved one.

Trump has also floated the idea that he could be reinstated, according to the New York Times and the National Review. However, no legal mechanism exists to remove Biden before his term is up outside impeachment or his incapacitation, according to legal experts.

Pennsylvania’s election results were already audited. The audit, which looked at 45,000 ballots in 63 of 67 counties, compared random samples of paper ballots to the reported vote totals to confirm the correct winner.

The final report was released in February, and provided “strong evidence” that Biden’s 77,000 vote win over Trump in November is accurate, according to the Department of State.

Trump’s statement did not mention state House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove, R-York, who Tweeted his opposition to an audit of the 2020 election Thursday.

As State Government Committee Chair, Grove held ten hearings throughout the winter and early spring looking at the state election code.

A report on their findings called for stricter ID requirements to vote, and for signature verification on mail-in ballots. Voting rights advocates have raised concerns that both could disenfranchise voters, particularly Black and brown voters.

But Grove has also rejected the idea that the 2020 election was influenced by widespread voter fraud. And his opposition to an audit was criticized by many of Trump’s supporters, such as Teddy Daniels, an unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate from northeastern Pennsylvania.

“Your job is to represent the people, not your own precious political career,” Daniels tweeted at Grove. “Go right or go home.”

Grove estimated to the Capital-Star that his office received 300 phone calls since Thursday about the audit. However, Grove said, most were from outside of his central Pennsylvania district.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.