President Donald Trump kept up his attacks on Georgia Governor Brian Kemp at a runoff rally in the state Saturday night for not heeding his calls to help him overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win in the state.
As the large crowd in Valdosta chanted ‘Stop the Steal’ – what’s become a rallying cry for Republicans unwilling to accept Democrat Biden’s victory in last month’s presidential election – Trump responded that ‘Your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing.’
Hours before the rally, Trump asked Kemp in the phone call to order the legislative session to subvert the election results, but the governor refused, according to a senior government official in Georgia with knowledge of the call who was not authorized to discuss the private conversation.
Kemp cited a ‘family emergency’ for skipping a rally with Vice President Mike Pence in Savannah on Friday.
Trump continued to rehash unsubstantiated allegations of fraud during his Saturday evening rally in Valdosta, Georgia, but also warned voters in would be a mistake not to vote in the Jan. 5 Senate runoff election in Georgia for two seats which will determine which party controls the election.
The president earlier tweeted that the ‘Democrat Party could not be happier’ with Kemp and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.
‘They fight harder against us than do the Radical Left Dems. If they were with us, we would have already won both Arizona and Georgia.’
The president also tweeted that he had ‘received more LEGAL votes by far. All I can do is run, campaign, and be a good (great!) President – it is 100% up to the states to manage the election. Republicans will NEVER forget this.’
Donald Trump and Melania Trump left the White House to head to a Senate runoff rally in Georgia, hours after Republican Governor Brian Kemp rejected the president’s plea to help overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state
The president contacted the Republican governor Saturday morning asking that he call a special session of the state legislature in what marks the latest in a long line of efforts from Trump to claw back victory in Georgia which flipped blue for the first time in 18 years
The two Georgia Senate seats are still up for grabs. This means that on January 5, David Perdue (left) will go head-to-head with Democrat opponent Jon Ossoff and Kelly Loeffler (right) with Democrat Raphael Warnock
The outcome of the January runoffs will ultimately decide who takes control of the Senate. Pictured Democrats Raphael Warnock (left) and Jon Ossoff (right)
The president asked Kemp to call a special session of the state legislature to flip the election result in his favor and appoint electoral college voters that will back him instead of the President-elect.
This marks the latest in a long line of attempts from Trump to claw back victory in Georgia after the state flipped blue for the first time in 18 years.
A source told the Washington Post about the conversation in which they said Kemp stood his ground and ‘declined the entreaty from Trump’.
Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara, who is married to Eric Trump, also put the pressure on Kemp Saturday in an appearance on Justice With Jeanine on Fox News.
‘Governor Kemp owes his position to President Trump. It would be nice if he reciprocated,’ she said. ‘He owes it to all of us’.
Trump took to Twitter around midday – presumably not long after the phone call – to claim he would ‘easily and quickly’ win Georgia if Kemp permitted a ‘simple signature verification’ and hitting out at the governor and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking ‘why are these two ‘Republicans’ saying no?’
On Thursday, Kemp called for a signature audit of Georgia votes for the third time and claimed it would be ‘simple’ to do while saying the power to carry one out lies with Raffensperger.
Signature verification was already carried out on absentee ballot envelopes in the state before the votes were counted and it would now be impossible to trace an individual ballot back to the envelope it came in.
Trump is seeking to have mail-in ballots thrown out across the state as he continues to push unfounded claims of widespread election fraud and refuses to concede to the President-elect.
The president and First Lady waved to supporters as they walked along the South Lawn of the White House. Melania, who was sporting a long red leather coat and zebra print heels, smiled as they walked across the lawn while Trump bore a more sullen expression as his call with Kemp didn’t go as planned earlier in the day
Trump waves as he walks out from the White House in Washington DC before his departure for campaign travel to Valdosta
They boarded Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland Saturday afternoon
Supporters greet President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump – who both shunned masks – as they walk on the South Lawn of the White House before heading to Georgia
Trump’s legal efforts were dealt a monumental blow Friday when judges in six states rejected his team’s election fraud appeals
His legal efforts were dealt a monumental blow Friday when judges in six states rejected his team’s election fraud appeals.
His latest attack on the election process comes as he heads to Georgia for a rally Saturday night where he has vowed to get behind the two GOP Senate candidates Perdue and Loeffler to try to prevent the party losing control of the Senate.
This comes 24 hours after former President Barack Obama headed up a virtual rally in support of the two Democrat challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
The source told the Post Trump asked Kemp to call a special session to overturn Georgia’s election results and appoint electors to the electoral college that would hand him the state’s 16 electoral college votes.
Trump also asked Kemp to order a signature verification audit of mail-in ballots in the state, the source said.
Kemp’s spokesperson Cody Hall also confirmed to the Post that the governor and the president had spoken over the phone Saturday morning.
Trump hit out at the governor on Twitter just after midday in a sign that the conversation didn’t go as planned for the president.
‘I will easily & quickly win Georgia if Governor @BrianKempGA or the Secretary of State permit a simple signature verification,’ claimed Trump on Twitter Saturday.
‘Has not been done and will show large scale discrepancies. Why are these two ‘Republicans’ saying no? If we win Georgia, everything else falls in place!’
Kemp quickly responded on Twitter, referencing his phone call with the president and saying he had already called for a signature audit to be carried out but does not have the power to enforce it.
‘As I told the President this morning, I’ve publicly called for a signature audit three times (11/20, 11/24, 12/3) to restore confidence in our election process and to ensure that only legal votes are counted in Georgia,’ the governor wrote.
The First couple then arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and boarded Air Force One to continue their journey to Valdosta where Trump will throw his support behind David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s Senate runoffs
The president and First Lady waved to supporters as they boarded Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland Saturday
The trip to Georgia came after Trump personally called the governor Saturday morning to pressure him to overturn Biden ‘s win and to get him to order another signature audit of votes in the state
Trump hit back at Kemp on Twitter urging him to ‘at least’ ask for a special session of the legislature and asking what ‘your people’ are ‘hiding’.
‘But you never got the signature verification! Your people are refusing to do what you ask,’ he raged.
‘What are they hiding? At least immediately ask for a Special Session of the Legislature. That you can easily, and immediately, do.’
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed Trump as ‘weird’ and ‘out of touch with reality’ for trying to push Georgia into overturning the election after the third count again found Biden won the state.
‘Trump is weird and out of touch with reality,’ the Democrat said when asked about the news live on CNN.
‘The Secretary of State in Georgia has been very strong and Georgia as a state is not going to allow this foolishness to continue. They had an election, proved it, certified it and I think Trump is wasting his time.’
He added: ‘Georgia is not going to have its reputation ruined by some stupid damn thing that Trump is trying to do that’s outside the realm of reality.’
Trump is pushing for an audit of mail-in voter signatures in his latest attempts to flip the election result in Georgia, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities.
The audit and his personal plea to the governor mark a last-ditch attempt to swing the election in his favor after his legal team had cases thrown out in six key states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin Friday.
The Trump campaign has filed 46 lawsuits since he lost to Biden but none of them have made serious headway in the courts.
Trump took to Twitter Saturday – presumably not long after the phone call – to claim he would ‘easily and quickly’ win Georgia if Kemp permitted a ‘simple signature verification’
Kemp quickly responded on Twitter, referencing his phone call with the president and saying he had already called for a signature audit to be carried out but does not have the power to enforce it
Trump hit back at Kemp on Twitter urging him to ‘at least’ ask for a special session of the legislature and asking what ‘your people’ are ‘hiding’
He then hit out at Kemp again while on his way to Georgia for the state runoffs rally Saturday evening
On Friday, the campaign filed another lawsuit in Georgia seeking to invalidate the election results there, claiming there was ‘literally tens of thousands of illegal votes that were cast, counted, and included’ in the election.
A signature audit would involve comparing the signatures on a sample of absentee ballot envelopes with the signatures on the voter’s registration application.
Yet the process of verifying voter signatures was already carried out by election workers when the ballots arrived.
Before a vote is counted, election officials compare the signature on the absentee ballot envelope to the voter’s signature already in the voter registration system.
If they don’t match, the voter is contacted within three days or the next day if it’s within 11 days of the election and must then prove their identity to officials.
On Thursday, a Senate subcommittee hearing heard from Ryan Germany, general counsel for the secretary of state, who described the signature verification process already conducted by the state.
‘Counties are required to verify signatures on the absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots, on both the signature on the on eNet and on the absentee ballot application,’ Germany said.
But once the signature is verified as a match, the ballot is separated from the envelope in to protect voter privacy so it would now be impossible to link an envelope to a ballot if a signature audit was carried out.
‘We have a constitutional right in Georgia to a secret ballot. They verify it’s you, then they separate your ballot so they don’t get to see who you voted for,’ Germany said.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed Trump as ‘weird’ and ‘out of touch with reality’ for trying to push Georgia into overturning the election after the third count again found Biden won the state
Because of the inability to know whether a vote for Biden or Trump should be tossed, Trump may push for all mail-in votes to be thrown out if one signature cannot be verified in an audit.
Despite no evidence of widespread fraud in Georgia’s election, Republican Governor Kemp has joined Trump’s calls for a signature audit.
He told Fox News Thursday he requested an audit on November 20 but that Raffensperger has not ordered one.
‘He has not done that. I think it should be done,’ Kemp said.
However Raffensperger, also a Republican, previously told CNN a signature audit would need to be ordered by a court – not his office – but said there is no basis for a court to order one.
Kemp told Fox Thursday he was pushing for an audit ‘especially with what we saw today.
‘It raises more questions. There needs to be transparency,’ he said.
Kemp was referencing the video shown by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, of an alleged instance of voter fraud at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said signature audit would need to be ordered by a court – not his office
It shows a group of four people allegedly taking out at least four boxes of ballots from underneath a table and then counting them.
But Raffensperger’s office investigated the video and said nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting implementation manager, also debunked the theory.
‘The 90 second video of election workers at State Farm arena, purporting to show fraud was watched in its entirety (hours) by @GaSecofState investigators. Shows normal ballot processing. Here is the fact check on it,’ he tweeted.
According to the fact check he tweeted: ‘Two high-level officials with the Georgia secretary of state’s office and a state elections board monitor’ each said investigations revealed ‘nothing suspicious in the video.’
Though Trump continues to try to undermine the election result and the entire election process in the state, he is urging Republicans to get out and vote in the upcoming Georgia Senate runoffs in January.
The president headed to a rally in the state Saturday evening to drum up support for Loeffler and Perdue as the state has found itself tasked with being the crucial decision-maker over what the Senate looks like for the next four years.
Trump tweeted footage of Republicans gathering at the event during the day, telling them: ‘See you tonight at 7PM, Georgia!’
It marks Trump’s first political rally since losing his reelection bid.
Kemp will not attend the rally with Trump, the governor’s spokesman told CNN, citing the recent death of close family friend and aide Harrison Deal.
Trump tweeted footage of Republicans gathering at the event during the day, telling them: ‘See you tonight at 7PM, Georgia!’
The two Georgia Senate seats are still up for grabs after candidates on neither side of the political line managed to secure the 50 percent threshold to secure a seat on November 3.
This means that on January 5, Perdue will go head-to-head with Democrat opponent Ossoff and Loeffler with Warnock.
The outcome will ultimately decide which party takes control of the Senate. If the two Democrats win, the party will hold a 50-50 split meaning Vice President-elect Kamala Harris then has the deciding vote on matters.
If one or both of the Republicans win they will take control, likely making it difficult for the Biden administration to pass policies through the Senate.
In what is shaping up to be a close-run race, Trump is encouraging his fans to throw their support behind the candidates amid concerns many voters won’t turn out in January because of conspiracy theories circulating among Trump fans about the GOP candidates.
Several theorists have taken to Twitter and the online platform Parler accusing the two GOP candidates of being anti-Trump and even responsible for widespread election fraud in the state – election fraud that the president has repeatedly claimed occurred while providing no evidence.
Hashtags such as #CrookedPerdue and #CrookedKelly have spread online with some hardline Trump fans branding the duo ‘liberal DemoRats,’ according to Politico.
The theories have been pushed by people close to Trump’s own election fraud team, with attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood both hitting out at Loeffler online.
Powell, Michael Flynn’s attorney who has been booted out of Trump’s legal team after spouting wild conspiracy theories, pushed an unfounded claim that Loeffler conspired with voting technology company, Dominion Voting Systems, to suppress votes for her GOP opponent in the November 3 race.
Wood, who filed a lawsuit against Georgia’s election results, has also hit out at both Loeffler and Perdue.
‘Some leaders in GA & National GOP complain I am hurting chances of @KLoeffler & @sendavidperdue to win runoff & save Senate control,’ he tweeted last week.
‘They are ones hurting those chances by failing to publicly demand investigation of fraud & special session of legislature. Look in mirror.’
He urged his social media followers to ‘threaten to withhold your votes & money’ for the runoffs unless the two candidates demand investigations into the election.
The theories and attacks on the two candidates have led several Trump supporters to vow to boycott the run-off despite potentially damaging GOP chances of winning the January races.
This is fuelling concerns among the Republican party that many Trump supporters won’t turn out and vote for the two candidates in January, leaving Democrats to take control of the Senate.
Last week Trump urged his supporters to vote to prevent the Senate being lost to ‘some very sick people’.
‘No, the 2020 Election was a total scam, we won by a lot (and will hopefully turn over the fraudulent result), but we must get out and help David and Kelly, two GREAT people,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘Otherwise we are playing right into the hands of some very sick people. I will be in Georgia on Saturday!’
Trump will speak at Saturday’s rally but the question remains whether he will use the stage to back the two candidates or to push his claims that election fraud cost him the election – claims that could further discourage voters from turning out in the runoffs.
On Friday former President Barack Obama headed up a virtual rally in support of the two Democrat challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff as the Democrats also make a play for the two seats
The Democrats are also ramping up their campaign for the critical Senate seats, holding a ‘Get Out the Vote’ virtual rally Friday afternoon where Obama was the star guest.
Obama urged Democrats to go out and vote for Warnock and Ossoff warning that the outcome of the runoffs race will decide ‘the course of the Biden presidency’.
‘The special election in Georgia is going to determine, ultimately, the course of the Biden presidency and whether Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can deliver legislatively all the commitments they made,’ he said.
‘If the Senate is controlled by Republicans who are interested in obstruction and gridlock, rather than progress and helping people, they can block just about anything.
‘We need a politics that works for ordinary people, not for insiders or the high and mighty.’
Obama said Warnock and Ossoff could help tackle the divide in the state after it flipped blue for the first time since 1992 and hit out at the Republican contenders.
‘You’ve got two incumbent senators, who, in the midst of the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes, were worried about their stock portfolio,’ Obama said of Loeffler and Perdue.
‘Goodness gracious! That alone should tell you something. Somehow we’ve become inured to this kind of stuff.’