By Ken Bredemeier
Officials in Georgia on Sunday rebuffed Republican President Donald Trump’s contention that Democratic challenger Joe Biden fraudulently won the southern U.S. state, declaring that the president-elect’s claim to Georgia’s 16 electoral votes would stand.
Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, told ABC News’s “This Week” show that as a conservative Republican he was “disappointed” that Trump lost Georgia, but the people “have spoken” and “we don’t see anything that would overturn the will of the people.”
Trump on Saturday asked the state’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, to call a special session of the state legislature to overturn the vote there and award Trump the state’s electors, which alone would not be enough to upend Biden’s unofficial 306-232 advantage in the Electoral College that determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections.
Kemp declined Trump’s request. Georgia’s lieutenant governor, Republican Geoff Duncan, told CNN on Sunday that he “absolutely” believes Kemp won’t accede to Trump’s demand that the governor persuade state lawmakers to nullify Biden’s victory in the state.
“We’re certainly not going to move the goal posts at this point in the election,” Duncan said.
Biden won the November 3 vote in Georgia by more than 12,000 votes. Two recounts, including a hand-by-hand tally of the more than 5 million ballots cast, upheld the result.
It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had won Georgia since 1992, after Trump captured the state in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Biden is set to become the country’s 46th president after his inauguration on January 20.
Trump staged a rally Saturday night in Georgia, briefly assailing Kemp for not helping him overturn Biden’s victory there.
“Your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing,” Trump said. “So far we haven’t been able to find the people in Georgia willing to do the right thing.”
Trump voiced grievances and falsehoods about the election, even though there was no evidence, either in Georgia or other contested battleground states, of widespread fraud. William Barr, the Trump-appointed attorney general, told the Associated Press last week that “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
In his Sunday interview, Duncan said Trump’s claims of fraud were “concerning. The mountains of misinformation are not helping the process; they’re only hurting it.”
In his ABC interview, Raffensperger, in defending the vote count in Georgia, said that he has received death threats and that his wife has received “sexualized texts and things like that.”
“And now they’ve actually gone after people, been following … young poll workers and election workers in Gwinnett County and also our folks at one of our offices,” Raffensperger said. “And so, you’re seeing just irrational, angry behavior. It’s unpatriotic. People shouldn’t be doing that.”
Trump fired Christopher Krebs, the government’s most senior cybersecurity official who called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”
In an interview Sunday on CBS News’s “Meet the Press” show, Krebs said he does not know why Trump is continuing his allegations of election fraud, even after he and his campaign have now lost or withdrawn three dozen or more lawsuits alleging vote and vote-counting irregularities.
“I don’t know if it’s intentional or willful blindness,” Krebs said. “But this race is over; we’ve got to get ready for January 20th and the next administration.”
Nonetheless, at midday Sunday, Trump said he would continue to pursue his fight against the election outcome, even as he announced that his attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has contracted the coronavirus.