According to new CNN reporting, in the days following Election Day 2020, Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was in regular coordination with GOP activists and battleground state Republicans — including now-North Carolina U.S. Rep. and Senate candidate Ted Budd, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward — strategizing on how best to prevent Joe Biden’s inauguration and justify and message their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
CNN’s reporting shows just how aggressively Republicans across battleground states, like Ted Budd, Kelli Ward, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, pushed to challenge, undermine, and even overturn the 2020 election:
- Arizona: “Throughout the two months, Meadows received dozens of messages from Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward, who offered what she claimed were examples and sources of voter fraud.”
- Arizona: “On November 6, Rep. Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican, appeared to suggest that state legislatures should appoint electors ‘in the various states where there’s been shenanigans,’ a move he acknowledged would be ‘highly controversial.’ In his text, he wrote the legislatures could appoint ‘a look doors,’ which is phonetically similar to electors.”
- Georgia: “By January 17, [Herschel Walker backer and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor] Greene was suggesting ways to keep Trump in office, telling Meadows there were several Republicans in Congress who still wanted the then-President to declare martial law, which had been raised in a heated Oval Office meeting a month earlier. Greene texted: ‘In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall (sic) law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!’”
- North Carolina: “For instance, Rep. Ted Budd, a North Carolina Republican now running for Senate, suggested in a text on November 7 that Dominion Voting Systems could be connected to George Soros’ company. Dominion has no corporate ties to Soros, a billionaire and frequent target of baseless conspiracy theories, according to a CNN fact check.”
- Pennsylvania: “In addition, the committee released text messages Meadows exchanged with Republican members of Congress, including texts with Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania about a scheme to replace Justice Department leaders who opposed Trump’s claims of election fraud.”
- Pennsylvania: “Other texts show Meadows coordinating with GOP activists in the immediate aftermath of the election. ‘’Pls get 4 or 5 killers in remaining counts. Need outsiders who will torch the place. Local folks won’t do it. Lawyers and operators. Get us in these states,’ American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp texted Meadows on November 4. ‘I may need to get you and mercy (sic) to go to PA,’ Meadows responded, referring to Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes, who is a former Trump White House aide.”
Though Nevada figured prominently in Trump’s efforts to contest the 2020 election, major characters in that effort, such as Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, aren’t mentioned in CNN’s initial reporting on the Meadows texts. However, the very day after his above-cited Nov. 4 text to Meadows, Matt Schlapp did appear at a “torch the place” press conference with Laxalt baselessly challenging Nevada’s 2020 election results.
Read CNN’s initial report on the Meadows text messages here.