The Slatest

Trump Campaign Shuts Down Fraud Hotline After It Gets Flooded With Prank Calls

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally to protest results from the presidential election in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 14, 2020.
Supporters of President Donald Trump rally to protest results from the presidential election in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 14, 2020. LOGAN CYRUS/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s campaign has shut down its “voter fraud” hotline as it struggles to put forward any shred of evidence to support its claims of wrongdoing during the election. After a week of receiving supposed tips from voters that could help prove their claims, it seems that the campaign did not think it was worth it to keep the phone lines open anymore and is instead directing people to fill out a form online. A main reason for shutting down the hotline was because it was flooded with prank calls.

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Numerous reports over the past few days noted that a viral campaign on TikTok and Twitter encouraged people to flood the hotline with prank calls and many did just that. The Trump campaign blamed Democrats. “The DNC is spamming our voter fraud hotline to bog down the thousands of complaints we are receiving!” Eric Trump said in a tweet. “Wonder what they have to hide.”

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It seems receiving those calls was traumatizing for some Trump staffers who were told to answer the phones in what one worker characterized as the “room from hell.” Low-level campaign workers were ordered to just sit there and listen to the calls that included lots of pranks such as people impersonating public figures and making fart noises, but also death threats. Amid all the prank calls and threats, staffers said they probably received one actual tip they could use every three to four hours. “It’s misery. It’s one of the worst ways to end a campaign that you could think of,” a staffer tells the Daily Beast. That staffer said the calls were so traumatizing that they had to go to the bathroom to cry.

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The campaign shut down the hotline at a time when its legal strategy to contest votes also appears to be faltering. There have been so many lawsuits filed in swing states that no one really knows how many there are, but it does seem clear the vast majority of them are failing miserably as judges chastise lawyers for presenting cases based solely on speculation with nothing to back up their claims. “They’re throwing the kitchen sink against the wall to see what sticks — a mixed metaphor that’s deserving of this legal strategy. And ‘legal strategy’ should be in quotes,” Ben Ginsberg, a veteran Republican election law attorney, told Politico.

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