President Donald Trump’s supporters were calling into hotlines for Iowa precinct chairs and added to the chaos that delayed the caucus results, a leading Iowa Democrat reportedly told party leaders during a conference call Wednesday night, Bloomberg News reports.
Ken Sagar, a member of the state Democratic central committee and the president of the Iowa AFL-CIO, reportedly said on the call that people were calling the hotline that precinct chairs were using to call in their caucus results, which he was manning on the night of the caucus, and voicing support for Trump after the phone number ended up online because people shared images of caucus paperwork, two unnamed participants on the conference call told Bloomberg on Thursday.
Users on 4chan, a fringe message board that allows users to remain anonymous, helped spread the phone number on the night of the caucus in the section for politics-related posts, which has become a hub for Trump supporters, according to NBC News. One user wrote: “They have to call in the results now. Very long hold times being reported. Phone line being clogged.”
Iowa state auditor Rob Sand told NBC that he was taking calls that night and said, “A lot of calls came in at a certain point where it was clear somebody had published the hotline number somewhere.”
Sand said that he didn’t know about the other people taking calls, but none of the calls he got said anything about being Trump supporters. However, Iowa Democratic Party communications director Mandy McClure said that the hotline got “an unusually high volume of inbound phone calls to its caucus hotline, including supporters of President Trump.”
She said in a statement: “The unexplained, and at times hostile calls contributed to the delay in the Iowa Democratic Party’s collection of results, but in no way affected the integrity of information gathered or the accuracy of data sets reported.”
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