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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s alleged refusal to cooperate with President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign’s investigation into election fraud and impropriety has provoked the president into describing him as “an enemy of the people.”
During a White House briefing held right after he finished participating in a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the military, the president waxed on about fraud/impropriety claims, particularly those coming from Georgia.
He first claimed that failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial Stacey Abrams has been allowed to harvest ballots illegally thanks to Raffensperger’s allegedly lax enforcement of a bill signed into law last year, that banned harvesting.
“I read this morning where Stacey Abrams has 850,000 ballots accumulated. Now, that’s called harvesting. You’re not allowed to harvest,” he said.
“But I understand the secretary of state — who is really, he’s an enemy of the people — and whether he’s Republican or not, this man, what he’s done, supposedly he made a deal. And you’ll have to check this, where she’s allowed to harvest, but in other areas they’re not allowed? What kind of a deal is that?”
“But how can she say she has 850,000 ballots? That would mean that she’s got 850,000 ballots for her. That’s not supposed to be happening. That’s not an election,” he added.
“You know, an election should be a one day deal. You walk in and you vote. And if you can’t do it, if for some reason you’re not feeling well or there’s a problem … But what they did is they used COVID in order to defraud the people of this country. And the whole world is watching, and the whole world is laughing at our electoral process. The whole world is watching, and it’s a very sad thing, a very sad thing.”
It’s not clear if what he said about Abrams is accurate. It’s possible he may have been referring to this somewhat-related announcement by Abrams:
🚨BREAKING: More than 750,000 Georgians have requested their ballots for the January 5 runoff elections. Have you? Request yours today and let’s get it done… again: https://t.co/xCyh7BhY3o. 🗳👏🏿 #gapol pic.twitter.com/q1xSybczXg
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 23, 2020
Regardless, the remarks capped what has been a lengthy week of Trump-bashing Raffensperger for obstructing his campaign’s attempts to add “vital safeguards” to Georgia’s recount process.
Over the weekend the president’s legal team filed a request specifically asking that Georgia’s ongoing recount “include signature-matching and other vital safeguards.”
“If there is no signature-matching, this would be as phony as the initial vote count and recount. Let’s stop giving the people false results. There must be a time when we stop counting illegal ballots. Hopefully it is coming soon.”
🚨NEW: Statement on Georgia pic.twitter.com/MMQRVAT2Gq
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 22, 2020
Both incumbent Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler also expressed support for this requirement:
I support President Trump’s request for a recount in Georgia, one in which signatures on absentee ballot envelopes are properly matched and verified to their signature on the registration. Anything less than that will not be a full and transparent recount. (1/2) #GASen #gapol
— David Perdue (@Perduesenate) November 22, 2020
I fully support President @realDonaldTrump‘s request for a recount in Georgia. We must match and verify absentee ballot signatures to their corresponding voter registration signatures, investigate all voting irregularities, and count only the votes that were legally cast.
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) November 22, 2020
However, Raffensperger refused to acquiesce to their demands, arguing that signature-matching was already conducted when the voting originally happened.
Responding to the secretary of state’s refusal, Trump accused him of being “afraid of Stacey Abrams.”
Why isn’t the @GASecofState Brad Raffensperger, a so-called Republican, allowing us to look at signatures on envelopes for verification? We will find tens of thousands of fraudulent and illegal votes…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020
Speaking about the signature debacle Thursday, the president predicted that “thousands and thousands” examples of fraud could be uncovered if Raffensperger would authorize signatures to be checked.
“The reason they don’t want to show us signatures is very simple, because we will find thousands and thousands — it’s a very close race, it’s hair-thin — but we’ll find thousands and thousands of discrepancies, fraud,” he said.
“Why they aren’t wanting to show those signatures is amazing. They’re doing recounts, and even in the recount they found thousands of votes that were off. But now we want to look at the signatures, and you will find tens of thousands of false ballots, forged ballots. You’ll see it all over. You’re going to see a lot of it.”
Despite his anger with Raffensperger, the president eased a lot of tension Thursday by vowing to campaign for Perdue and Loeffler, whose reelections to office are necessary for Republicans to retain control of the Senate.
“Going back to Georgia just for a second. I’ll be going there on Saturday night, and maybe I’ll go twice. It’s very important that we win those races. These are two great people. I know them both very well. They’re both great people,” he said.
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