With no clear pathway to re-election, President Donald Trump called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday in an attempt to pressure him to call a special session of the state Legislature in an effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's narrow victory in the state, Kemp's office confirmed.
Trump also asked Kemp, a Republican, to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures.
The call came mere hours before Trump was scheduled to appear at campaign rallies in Georgia for two Republican senators, Kelly Lynn Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both facing runoff races early next month that will ultimately decide control of the Senate.
In a statement issued to NBC News, Kemp's office said that Georgia law prohibits the governor from interfering in elections. That power rests with the secretary of state, who is an elected officer of the state.
"As the Governor has said repeatedly, he will continue to follow the law and encourage the Secretary of State to take reasonable steps — including a sample audit of signatures — to restore trust and address serious issues that have been raised," the statement read in part.
Kemp also tweeted after the phone call, saying that he publicly called for a signature audit three times in an effort to "restore confidence in our election process and to ensure that only legal votes are counted in Georgia."
Trump later responded in a series of tweets countering that Democrats "could not be happier" with the election outcomes in Georgia and Arizona, whose governor earlier this week rankled the White House by signing off on Biden's victory in the state.
"Your people are refusing to do what you ask," one of Trump's tweets read in part. "What are they hiding? At least immediately ask for a Special Session of the Legislature. That you can easily, and immediately, do."
The tension between Kemp and Trump comes less than a week after Gabriel Sterling, the voting implementation manager with the Georgia Secretary of State's office, delivered blistering remarks condemning Trump's attempt to meddle in the Georgia election.
“Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia,” Sterling said on Tuesday. “We’re investigating, there’s always a possibility, I get it, and you have the right to go through the courts. [But] you need to step up and say this ... Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence."