In a statement released Monday, former President Donald Trump slammed the “establishment media” for its “outright lies,” in reference to The Washington Post’s drastic revision of information about Trump’s widely reported December phone call in Georgia.
“You will notice that establishment media errors, omissions, mistakes, and outright lies always slant one way—against me and against Republicans. Meanwhile, 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,” Trump said. “Look no further than the negative coverage of the vaccine that preceded the election and the overdue celebration of the vaccine once the election had concluded. A strong democracy requires a fair and honest press. This latest media travesty underscores that legacy media outlets should be regarded as political entities—not journalistic enterprises.”
“I thank the Washington Post for the correction,” the former president added.
The Washington Post claimed that Trump pressured Francis Watson, the Georgia secretary of state’s chief investigator, “to find the fraud” so Watson could be hailed a “national hero.” This false quote from an anonymous source was immediately picked up by the most prominent corporate media outlets, who are now revising their own articles like the censors in George Orwell’s “1984.” The correction says:
Correction: 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.
“Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story, published January 9, presented paraphrasing of the President’s comments to the Georgia elections investigator as direct quotes,” CNN noted on Monday. “The story has been updated following the discovery of an audio recording of the call. Read more here.”
“Correction: A Jan. 9 story incorrectly quoted President Donald Trump during a conversation with a Georgia official based on incorrect information provided to USA TODAY. A subsequent recording of the call published by the Wall Street Journal shows Trump asked the official to look for ‘dishonesty,'” USA TODAY said.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal released the audio of the Dec. 23 call between Trump and Watson, two months after it damaged him politically during the crucial post-election period.
“I won everything but Georgia, and I won Georgia, I know that, by a lot, and the people know it, and something happened there, something bad happened,” said Trump on the call. “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. 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.”
“I can assure you that our team and the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts,” Watson said. “We’ve been working 12-16 hour days and, you know, we’re working through it. So I can assure you that.”
“When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump noted near the end of the call.
The Georgia secretary of state’s office is investigating separate phone calls in January between the former president and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, wherein Trump said: “All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes” the Trump team alleged were illegally counted. District Attorney Fani Willis of Fulton County is also conducting an investigation to deem if Trump’s rhetoric protesting the 2020 presidential election results constitutes criminal activity.
“Fulton County has not been properly audited for vote or signature verification,” the former president said in his statement. “They only looked at areas of the State where there most likely would be few problems, and even there they found large numbers of mistakes. We are seeking to find and reveal the large-scale election fraud which took place in Georgia. Many residents agree, and their anger caused them not to turn out and vote for two Republican Senators in the January election.”
In Trump’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla. this year, he spoke about election integrity and decried the “fake news media.” Trump also floated the idea of running for a third time for president in 2024.