All credit to AZCentral reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez for this juicy Friday scoop about Donald Trump's desperate bid to change the Maricopa County election results that included an attempt to speak directly with the chair of the county’s board of supervisors shortly after pressuring Georgia's secretary of state to “find” votes.
But let's start by noting that winning Maricopa County was the linchpin of Joe Biden's narrow victory in Arizona.
On Nov. 13, just after a ballot update from Maricopa secured the county for Biden, Trump expressed interest in speaking directly with the county's board chair, Clint Hickman. Trump loyalist and state GOP party chair Kelli Ward told Hickman, "POTUS will probably be calling you."
Hickman, indicating that he wasn't particularly amenable to that communication, told Ward he couldn't speak to Trump about ongoing litigation in the county. That call ultimately wouldn’t come until weeks later.
When it did come on New Year's Eve, Hickman ignored it because he was out with his wife and didn't recognize the Washington, D.C., area code. When he later checked his voicemail, it turned out to be the White House switchboard asking him to return a call so he could speak with Trump. Hickman ignored the request and eventually deleted the voicemail.
Several days after receiving that message, the recording surfaced of Trump badgering Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" votes to overturn his loss in the Peach State. After listening to the recording on Jan. 3, Hickman effectively decided to ghost the president of the United States.“I was horrified,” Hickman said.
That same night, at 9:22 p.m. — approaching midnight in Washington — his phone buzzed again. It was the same area code again. He let it go to voicemail again.
“Hello, sir. This is the White House operator I was calling to let you know that the president's available to take your call if you're free,” the voicemail said. “If you could please give us a call back, sir, that’d be great. You have a good evening.”
Hickman said he presumed Trump would try to pressure him to change the election results or outline election conspiracies, just as he had done to Georgia officials, so he never returned that call, either.
here's the leaked voicemail from Trump allies asking Maricopa County supervisors to stop counting ballotspic.twitter.com/ZlfMWtb2XN— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) July 2, 2021