Trump tells Arizona GOP Senate candidate ‘you’ll lose if you go soft’ on election fraud claims


Washington
CNN

Former President Donald Trump took Blake Masters to task after the Arizona Senate candidate said in a debate this month that he had seen no evidence of election fraud in Arizona.

After a phone call between Trump and Masters captured in a Fox documentary, the former president can be heard encouraging Masters to bow to his baseless election fraud claims.

“If you want to cross the line, you have to be stronger in one thing. That was the only thing, a lot of complaints,” Trump told Masters before citing Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake as an example.

“Look Kari. Kari is earning with little money. And if they say: ‘How is your family?’ He says the election was rigged and stolen. You will lose if you go soft. You’re going to lose that base,” Trump said.

“I’m not going to soften,” Masters replied.

The call highlighted the denial of midterm elections for the GOP’s midterm efforts. Dozens of Republicans running for governor, secretary of state or U.S. senator in 2022 have joined Trump in rejecting or questioning the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, with some trying to overturn the 2020 results.

These unsubstantiated allegations of widespread election fraud have inspired numerous new restrictive voting laws and have led to growing security concerns around elections.

While it’s unclear when the phone call took place, Masters struck a different tone about voter fraud during an appearance on Fox in the days following the October debate. Asked why the claims about the 2020 election were removed from Masters’ website, he replied: “Well I still believe that, that’s for sure.”

Later in the interview, he added, “If we had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today.”

Blake appeared to build on that message Tuesday, encouraging people to continue shooting ballot boxes as allegations of voter intimidation grow across the state.

“If you’re going to watch the time boxes, well, stay whatever it is – is it 75 feet? Anyway, stay that distance, don’t scare the voters, get your video camera out and record it to make sure people aren’t polling,” he said. Masters on “The Mike Broomhead Show” on KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to a ballot box in Mesa, Arizona Friday night after two people in tactical response gear were watching the box. On Monday, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said the two gunmen were not breaking the law, but condemned the attempt to “passively intimidate others into voting.”

As of Monday, the Arizona Secretary of State sent six reports of voter intimidation near the ballot box to law enforcement. The office also cited a report of harassment of election workers.