ATLANTA — During a Saturday morning phone call from President Donald Trump, Gov. Brian Kemp again refused a demand from Trump to call a special session of the Georgia Legislature to somehow overturn the November election result and decide it in the Republican’s favor, two sources confirm.
Kemp has previously declined Trump’s demands to call a special legislative session to appoint Republican electors to cast their votes for Trump, instead of the Democratic electors Kemp certified after the Georgia vote count and an audit showed that president-elect Joe Biden won Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes.
In a tweet Saturday, Kemp disclosed his conversation with the president, adding that he would like to see an audit of signatures associated with absentee ballots cast during the November election. Trump tweeted earlier in the day that Kemp is refusing a verification of absentee signatures, which is not true.
Also on Saturday, Kemp’s office said the governor won’t appear at Trump’s rally in Valdosta following the death of a young aide he considered a member of his family.
The governor’s office said the Republican would not attend the event as he mourns the death of Harrison Deal, an aide to U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler who the governor said was the “Kemp son and brother we never had.” Deal, 20, died in a traffic accident in Savannah on Friday.
Kemp’s appearance at the rally for U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler was in doubt before the tragedy. The Republican has come under increasing attack from Trump, who has said he was “ashamed” to have endorsed him in 2018 and criticized him for refusing to obstruct the certification of Georgia’s election results.
The governor has refrained from swiping back at Trump, saying he shares the president’s “frustration” at the outcome. But he’s repeatedly noted that Georgia law blocks him from “interfering” with the election.
Instead, Kemp has urged Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to take additional steps to verify absentee ballot signatures — a measure elections officials say is unnecessary — and authorized Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents to investigate potential voter fraud cases.
A senior Republican official said that in Kemp and Trump’s Saturday conversation, the president offered his condolences for Deal’s death.