Trump has gathered thousands of unmasked supporters in Valdost in favor of Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue, but has focused a lot of attention on his own elections.
VALDOSTA, Georgia (AP) – President Donald Trump expresses his grudge against losing the presidential election, using a weekend rally to spread baseless allegations of misconduct during last month’s voting in Georgia and beyond, even as he pushed his supporters to turnout for a couple of votes. Republican candidates for the Senate in the second round of elections in January.
“Let Georgia be stolen again, you can never look in the mirror,” Trump told the rally participants.
Trump’s 100-minute rally in front of thousands of largely unmasked supporters came shortly after Georgia’s Republican governor rejected his startling call for a special legislative session to give him state electoral votes, although President-elect Joe Biden received more votes than any other candidate. …
The second round of elections to the Senate of Georgia on January 5 will determine the balance of power in Washington after Biden takes office. Republicans in the state are worried that Trump is raising so much suspicion about the Georgia election that voters will consider the system rigged and choose not to run two races.
The latest futile attempt to undermine the presidential election continued Trump’s unprecedented campaign to undermine the credibility of the democratic process, but overshadowed his stated goal of traveling to Georgia – to encourage Senators David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Republicans need one victory to maintain a Senate majority. Democrats need a Georgia sweep to force the Senate 50-50 and appoint Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the casting vote.
Party officials hoped the president would channel his energies into pleading supporters to vote in the second round when Purdue and Loeffler try to keep Democrats John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively, in check.
Trump did echo Republican rhetoric that the races constituted “the most important round of congressional elections, probably in American history.” It’s only true because he lost.
But after the landing of Air Force One, it quickly became apparent that Trump intended to voice his own complaints and rekindle unfounded doubts about last month’s vote, rather than backing his party.
“I want to stay in office,” Trump said minutes after his speech. “But I have to get to these two.” He praised GOP lawmakers, Perdue for his support for military spending, and Loeffler for pushing for early spending on coronavirus aid. But he quickly returned to his defeat.
Trump pulled out a piece of paper and read a list of his electoral achievements, including the false claim that he won in Georgia and the White House. Biden supported the state with 12,670 votes and received a record 81 million votes nationwide.
Trump continued to reiterate his unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, despite the fact that his own administration assessed the election as running without any major problems.
The chants “Battle for Trump” drowned out the two senators as they briefly addressed the crowd.
Hours before the event, Trump telephoned Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to schedule a legislative meeting; The governor refused, according to a senior government official in Georgia who knew about the call but was not authorized to discuss the private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity. A person close to the White House who was briefed on the matter confirmed this call report.
Kemp said in a tweet that Trump also asked him to order an audit of absentee envelope signatures in his state, which Kemp is not authorized to do because he does not have the authority to intervene on Trump’s behalf.
However, Trump expressed his displeasure with Kemp on Twitter and at the rally.
“Your people refuse to do what you ask,” he complained on Twitter, as if talking to Kemp. “What are they hiding? At the very least, immediately ask for a special meeting of the Legislature. It can be done easily and immediately. ”
At the rally, he again took aim at Kemp, saying that he could secure his victory “if he knew what the hell he was doing.”
Trump’s personal contact with the governor has shown that he intends to strengthen his conspiratorial and debunked election fraud theories, even as Georgia Republicans want him to turn his attention to a runoff and encourage his supporters to step out and vote.
In his tweet, Kemp said: “As I told the president this morning, I have publicly called for signature verification three times (November 20, November 24, December 3) to restore confidence in our electoral process and ensure that only legitimate votes are counted in Georgia.”
While the governor has no authority to order an audit of signatures, the audit was initiated by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and resulted in a full vote recount that confirmed Biden’s victory in Georgia. The race was attested by Biden and confirmed by the state’s Republican electoral authorities as a fair and counted vote without any of the systemic errors Trump claims.
But after two Trump-backing lawyers questioned last week whether to vote again – echoing the president’s baseless accusations of widespread vote rigging – even Vice President Mike Pence expressed fears that the Republican coalition could split. due to Trump’s displeasure. …
“I know we all doubted the last election, and I can hear some of you say, ‘Just don’t vote,’” Pence said Friday during a campaign with Purdue in Savannah. “If you don’t vote, they will win.”
Few Republicans in Washington or Georgia believe large sections of the electorate in this new battlefield will backtrack on Trump’s false claims or his vilification of Georgia’s governor and secretary of state for confirming Biden’s victory in the state.
The risk for the GOP is that it won’t take a big dip to make a difference if the runoff is as close as the presidential contest: Biden won Georgia with roughly 12,500 votes out of 5 million cast. Enough noise to explain why Pence felt the need to get down to business directly after two Trump supporters voiced the idea that the president’s supporters would provide aid to Purdue and Leffler.
Trump’s false claims resonated with voters like Barry Mann, a 61-year-old business owner who came to hear Pence in Savannah. Mann has yet to decide whether he will vote for his senators a second time.
“I think there are some issues with our election and more investigation is needed,” Mann said, adding that he does not believe Purdue and Leffler have done enough to support Trump’s efforts to reverse the results. “I want to see what happens from now to January,” Mann said.