In Leaked Audio, Trump Adv. Says GOP ‘Traditionally’ Relies On Voter Suppression
Audio recording from a private event leaked to The Associated Press revealed one of President Donald Trump’s re-election advisers admitting that Republicans have “traditionally” relied on voter suppression in battleground states.
But senior adviser and counsel to Trump’s re-election campaign Justin Clark said in 2020, Republicans can “start playing offence,” due to relaxed Election Day rules, the AP reported.
“Traditionally, it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” Clark said on the recording, made during his talk before the Republican National Lawyers Association’s Wisconsin chapter in November. “Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are. … Let’s start playing offence a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
Clark told the AP he was merely referring to false accusations of voter suppression.
“As should be clear from the context of my remarks, my point was that Republicans historically have been falsely accused of voter suppression and that it is time we stood up to defend our own voters,” he told the news outlet. “Neither I nor anyone I know or work with would condone anyone’s vote being threatened or diluted and our efforts will be focused on preventing just that.”
The relaxed Election Day rules Clark mentioned were referenced a judge’s decision in 2018 to lift “a consent decree in place since 1982 that barred the Republican National Committee from voter verification and other ‘ballot security’ efforts,” the AP reported, noting that critics have insisted the Election Day monitoring amounts to voter intimidation.
During the 20-minute audio recording, Clark is heard telling the group that Trump is supportive of the efforts.
“We’ve all seen the tweets about voter fraud, blah, blah, blah,” Clark said. “Every time we’re in with him, he asks what are we doing about voter fraud? What are we doing about voter fraud?’ The point is he’s committed to this, he believes in it and he will do whatever it takes to make sure it’s successful.”
Mike Browne, deputy director of One Wisconsin Now — which provided the recording to the AP after it was obtained by the liberal group American Bridge — said Clark’s comments hint that the Trump campaign intends to use “underhanded tactics” to win the next election.
“The strategy to rig the rules in elections and give themselves an unfair partisan advantage goes to Donald Trump, the highest levels of his campaign and the top Republican leadership,” he told the news outlet. “It’s clear there’s no law Donald Trump and his right-wing machine won’t bend, break or ignore to try to win the presidency.”