Trump allegedly pressured Michigan election workers not to certify 2020 vote: Report

Details have emerged from a previously unknown phone call.

ByJohn Santucci ABCNews logo
Friday, December 22, 2023
Trump allegedly pressured MI election workers not to certify 2020 vote
Former President Donald Trump allegedly pressured two Michigan election officials not to certify the 2020 vote, a new report from The Detroit News says.

A Michigan newspaper is reporting what it says is a recording of a previously unknown phone call that former President Donald Trump and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel had with two local Michigan election officials in the wake of the 2020 election in which the officials allegedly were being pushed to not certify President Joe Biden's win.

The new report from The Detroit News says that in the recording played for its reporters, that during the call, Trump reportedly personally pressured two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers not to sign the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

In the report's description of the phone call recording, which the Detroit News report says took place on Nov. 17, 2020, Trump allegedly told Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two GOP Wayne County canvassers, that they would look "terrible" if they signed the documents after they first voted in opposition only to later -- in the same meeting -- vote to approve certification of the election results.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on July 7, 2023, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File

"We've got to fight for our country," the Detroit News reports Trump says on the recordings, which the newspaper reports was made by a person who was present for the call with Palmer and Hartmann. "We can't let these people take our country away from us," the newspaper says Trump continued.

ABC News has not confirmed The Detroit News report and audio of the call has not yet been released.

A statement by the Trump campaign was provided to ABC News in response, which did not deny the Detroit News' report.

"All of President Trump's actions were taken in furtherance of his duty as President of the United States to faithfully take care of the laws and ensure election integrity, including investigating the rigged and stolen 2020 Presidential Election," Trump Campaign spokesman Steve Cheung told ABC News. "President Trump and the American people have the Constitutional right to free and fair elections. Crooked Joe Biden and the Democrats are spinning their wheels in the face of devastating polling numbers and desperately leaking misleading information to interfere in the election."

In this Nov. 17, 2020, file photo, Wayne County Board of Canvassers Republican chairperson Monica Palmer discuss a motion to certify the election during a board meeting in Detroit.
In this Nov. 17, 2020, file photo, Wayne County Board of Canvassers Republican chairperson Monica Palmer discuss a motion to certify the election during a board meeting in Detroit.
Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP, FILE

The Detroit News report says Palmer and Hartmann ended up leaving the meeting without signing the official statement of votes for Wayne County and the following day they unsuccessfully attempted to rescind their votes in favor of certification

McDaniel responded to the report, telling The Detroit News, "What I said publicly and repeatedly at the time, as referenced in my letter on Nov. 21, 2020, is that there was ample evidence that warranted an audit."

If Palmer and Hartman had been able to stop the certification of the Wayne County votes, the statewide certification of Michigan's 2020 election could have been thrown into doubt.

Palmer also did not dispute a summary of the call, according to the newspaper. ABC News has reached out to Palmer for comment. Hartmann died in 2021.