Listen to the full interview here:
BKP: All right folks we’re back. I’m your host BKP. You’re watching BKP Politics. Yesterday we found out that the President of the United States, Donald J.Trump had placed a phone call to the Georgia House Speaker David Ralston. And we know the president has placed several phone calls also to the House Speaker of the state of Pennsylvania. But this morning, joining me right now is our guest Georgia House Speaker David Ralston. Speaker Ralston, how are
you this morning?
Ralston: I’m great Brian. I hope you are too.
BKP: I’m doing great. And obviously, we have a quick question that we can get directly to. We don’t have to beat around the bush on this one. What took place and what are some of the highlights that you could share with us in that 15-minute conversation with the President yesterday?
Ralston: Well it was a very pleasant conversation. The President was upbeat. He was very energetic and very positive. We chatted about some of the issues in the elections controversy in other states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. But he wanted to focus mostly on Georgia and I think to get my take on whether there was still a path forward here. You know his head is still in the game without question. I mean he believes very sincerely and very intensely that he won this election. So he’s letting the court cases play out and also looking to see what avenues may be available if any through the legislative process.
BKP: All right. He wanted your take on a pathway forward and you being the Georgia Speaker of the House. What was your answer? What is your take on a pathway forward? Was the President asking you to do any specific things or was he just wanting to hear what opportunities are still out there that you may be able to do as Speaker of the House? What was the answer to that when he asked?
Ralston: Well obviously he would like a special session of the Georgia General Assembly. He’s been clear on that before and he was clear on that in the phone conversation yesterday. You know I shared with him my belief that based on the understanding I have of Georgia law that it was going to be very much an uphill battle.
We talked about one other possibility on that which I also talked about. Earlier yesterday afternoon and I had a call from Mayor Giuliani we talked about that legal issue in particular. Mayor Giuliani believes that there is a legal path forward. You know and we’re looking at that now Brian to see if there is something that we can do because I want to be very very clear on this point. And the President understands this.
But I want to be very clear with your listeners today. Right now my understanding is that there are two ways if we have a special session of the Georgia General Assembly. One is if the governor issues a call. And I don’t think that’s going to happen. And the other way is if three-fifths of each chamber the Senate and the House petition for (Inaudible talk).
The problem with that is we appear to be at least two votes short in the House. I’m not sure what the count is in the Senate. But we’re two votes short in the House because we don’t anticipate getting, well maybe we’ll probably get one Democrat vote and no others. And if that’s the case then that path is blocked to us also.
BKP: I know your time is short Mr. Speaker so let me get through this. so you received a call from Mayor Giuliani and also from the president. You talked about a path forward. And the name escapes me I don’t have it written down but the constitutional professor last week that gave testimony in the Georgia Senate hearings said that article two of the constitution supersedes the state constitution which means you should be able to call the special session. But I won’t ask you to take the time to explain that. So I think there’s a lot of people that maybe argue that point. You said a second path forward. You’re not able to share with us what that looks like?
Ralston: Well that would be the path that you just uh alluded to and that was described by the constitutional lawyer Professor Eastman.
BKP: Yes Professor Eastman.
Ralston: He was in Atlanta last week and testified before the Senate committee. And I’m not sure what that would look like. You know we got to be very very careful because whatever we do will set a precedent. You know this issue of can we come into session and disregard the fact that there have been two or three certifications whether we agree with them or not that Vice-President Biden got 12,000 more votes from the President? And just disregard that
and send our electors to the President? That’s something I think we want to tread very very carefully around because that could be used against us someday. As is this call for a special session.
BKP: Well no no no disrespect I don’t mean to break in there but when you say this could be used against us someday I just want to reiterate in the president’s Tweets, not mine. And I think you know this because you’re getting phone calls and emails. People are angry. And when you say this could come back on us, I will say a lot of people don’t care what may come back. They want to deal with what they feel is the fraud and the stealing today by however means they need to. And you know what I’m saying on that. So I mean when we hear that you know what I’m saying, Mr. Speaker?
Ralston: I do. I do. And I guess look, I’ve gotten the emails. I’ve got text messages. I’ve got calls from my district and all around the state. In fact, all around the nation and I’ve never seen in my public career the level of anger and concern that’s out there now. People are very very upset and I get that. I’m upset. I told the President yesterday that one of the reasons I want to continue to look and be sure that we don’t foreclose any possibility here is because I believe it is vital that he be re-elected. His policies are good for this country, particularly when compared to the policies of the other party. And so I think that much of our country’s future depends on him winning and that’s why I don’t want to just lightly brush off any possibility that there is an avenue.
BKP: I want to make sure there are two other bridges we cross here. In March, and many Americans feel that this along in other states like Pennsylvania and so many others. But in March Secretary of State Raffensberger made a deal with the democrats that we feel is unconstitutional. And that deal that was made with the upcoming election rules actually belongs to the legislative body in Georgia. You and I spoke around April first of this past year and you mentioned that then.
I mean how concerned are you that we’re going into January 5th with these same kinds of deals. And maybe people are saying we need a special session and maybe not just to appoint electors to Donald J. Trump but to also correct things to make people feel that their vote is counted and their vote is safe actually come January fifth. Because that’s another thing all eyes are on Georgia for.
Ralston: Well you know you you will remember that you and I did talk about that. We talked about two or three issues that I was really the only one in Atlanta and around the state that was speaking out on. One of which was that consent decree which, you know how that happened I will never know. We didn’t know about it in the legislature until after the fact. That’s just wrong and unacceptable.
The other thing that we talked about which again I couldn’t find people to join with me because it didn’t sound like something that would be important which is this business of the universal mail-in application where Secretary Raffensberger was sending an application for an absentee ballot to every registered voter in the state of Georgia. Every registered voter. And I want our voting process to be accessible and open to everybody.
But when you do that you’re opening the door for fraud. You’re opening the door for all kinds of irregularities. I was very concerned about that then. I expressed my views to the Secretary. He seemed to not think it was that big a deal. he said he wasn’t going to do it in November. But the problem is that under the law when he did it for the primary back in June, many of those people automatically were carried forward. There’s no question in my mind if that made the difference in the Trump Biden race in Georgia on November third.
BKP: Well I will say this and I know you’re aware of it. Now it’s carrying through to January fifth and people are very concerned about going out to vote with many of these rules like drop boxes. What do you expect to accomplish or you think will come out of the house governmental affairs committee hearings Thursday that you’ll be holding? What do you expect that we will hear and see Thursday in those hearings?
Ralston: I told chairman Shaw Blackmon who chairs that committee that I want him to drill down wherever the work leads them. I want them to look forward. The immediate objective right now is to make sure that people are comfortable that their vote will count on January fifth and that their vote will be secure. That there will be no illegal votes. So I’m not sure of the specifics of what he’s going to come back with.
I know that there are some good ideas that have been turning around the last few days. And so I would encourage folks to pay attention to those hearings. I told him I don’t want any showboating. I just want people that are going our members that go down there and work hard and dig down and let’s find out you know what we need to do to make sure that January fifth is a fair election.
And let me just say one other thing Brian before I have to go. I completely reject this notion that and the President talked about this Saturday night in Valdosta, that some of his friends were saying well you know don’t go vote because your vote won’t count and all this kind of stuff. If we take that attitude then we might as well just hand over the keys to the U.S. Senate to Chuck Schumer because we’re defeated.
BKP: I agree with you, sir. I agree with your sir. I have two quick ones that will be direct. Yesterday I had an opportunity to sit down with Senator David Perdue and I do have it on video and he reiterated and very strongly reiterated that he had requested Brad Raffensberger, Speaker of the House, he requested his resignation. Have you considered anything like that where the secretary of state is concerned? Have you thought about that in any way as far as the Secretary of State? Could you answer that for us?
Ralston: Well I think the secretary of state’s going to have to uh answer for his own decisions of what he does or does not do. I generally prefer that the voters reject people or vote them back in. He’s gonna have to stand for election in two short years. You know it’s on his conscious what he doesn’t. I can’t make him resign. And only he can do that. But there is going to be a reckoning day and it’s coming in the spring of 2022.
BKP: The President said to you in the conversation and I don’t want to quote. But I think he said something to the reference that he feels he won Georgia. now I want to ask you I know Brad Raffenberger secretary of state has certified this election two or three times now. And I understand the certification process. But going on what the President asked you or said to you that he won Georgia do you think he won Georgia Mr. Speaker?
Ralston: I think you could make a case that he won Georgia. The problem is that there seems to be a belief out in the public that there is all this evidence that suggests that the election was rigged and it was illegal. And the truth of the matter is and I’ve looked through most of that evidence it’s just you know you you can’t just say that it is clear that he had the election stolen from him.
There is enough evidence there in my mind that raises questions that need to be answered. And that’s why I have kept I’ve resisted the call to join on with others that are issuing statements supporting the outcome of the election because I think that we we’ve got to answer and resolve all of these questions before we can know the answer to that question.
BKP: If you could find a constitutional way to do it as we talked with Professor Eastman you would be open to a session if you could find it in a constitutional way?
BKP: All right. You’re getting the emails and the phone calls. And I know you are. And I know and I can just imagine what they’re saying and people are angry. So I’ll just say to you I would like to get back to Georgia being known as the number one place in the country for small businesses, jobs and to do business. I’d like to get back to being the number one place in the country to do business. And I say this all tongue-in-cheek, to not be the place to steal an election or have all eyes on us in a derogatory way. And I’m sure we share that.
Ralston: Absolutely. I mean this is not a good moment for Georgia. And the only thing that will make it worse is if we send the two most liberal people we’ve ever had on the statewide ballot Washington to represent us in the United States Senate.