Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office spiraled into chaos after being caught off-guard by Trump's demand for an election audit

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office spiraled into chaos after being caught off-guard by Trump's demand for an election audit
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016, Wikimedia Commons
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Former President Donald Trump reportedly sent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) office into a frenzy as state officials tried to determine how serious he was about pursuing the audit.

The debacle began on Thursday, September 23, when Trump penned his letter to Abbott. According to Politico, Trump asked Abbott to "hold a 'Forensic Audit of the 2020 Election' and pass HB 16, a bill recently filed in the Third Special Session of the Texas legislature, which would allow for an Arizona-style 'audit' of the presidential election."

In a public letter, the former president insisted that Texans were interested in the audit although he won the deeply red state by a relatively large margin.

"Despite my big win in Texas, I hear Texans want an election audit!" Trump wrote. "Texas needs you to act now. Your Third Special Session is the perfect, and maybe last, opportunity to pass this audit bill. Time is running out."

Shortly after Trump made his demand, Sam Taylor, Texas' assistant secretary of state for communications released a statement confirming Abbott's office had "already begun the process." In fact, on Sunday, September 26, Abbott appeared on "Fox News Sunday" where he echoed Taylor's confirmation when he stated that the audit process actually "began months ago."

The Republican governor also defended the audit. "Why do we audit everything in this world, but people raised their hands in concern when we audit elections, which is fundamental to our democracy?" Abbott said on Sunday. "We have a responsibility to ensure the integrity and confidence in the elections in the state of Texas."

"State audits conducted by the Texas Secretary of State's office have already been underway for months," Renae Eze, press secretary for the governor, said in a statement. "Under federal law, county election officials only have to keep these materials for 22 months, and it is imperative that all aspects of elections conducted in 2020 are examined before the counties clear out these materials in September 2022."

Although Abbott's office gave off the appearance of a united front in support of Trump's request, things were reportedly a bit different behind the scenes.

The publication reports: "There had not been contact between Trump and Abbott ahead of the release, and Abbott's office was uncertain if they could meet Trump's demands to pass HB16 without complicating the legislative agenda."

One political aide also said, "The secretary of state's decision to call for audits in the four largest counties in Texas was predicated on Trump's statement mentioning Gov. Abbott," the aide said. "There was a mad dash to determine if Trump was actually being serious with his statement and it was decided this was the best route to take without blowing up the special session."

Democrats believe Trump's audits underscore a bigger problem that may become more prevalent later on down the line. The politically-driven need to constantly challenge the outcomes of unfavorable election results could be a long-term defensive tactic for Republicans which would further threaten America's democracy.

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