On the eve of a tightly anticipated runoff election, Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler cast their weight behind President Donald Trump, who attempted to bully a top official into overturning election results.
Embattled Sen. David Perdue had nothing but praise Monday following President Donald Trump’s call demanding Georgia’s top elections official help him overturn thrice-counted results.
“A lot of people in Georgia and 75 million Americans, I think, align with him right now that something untoward happened here in Georgia and we have not gotten to the bottom of it,” Perdue told Fox News. “I’ve been calling for weeks to object to the electors, because in the state of Georgia I don’t believe we should have certified the election yet.”
Perdue and fellow Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler are each facing a tight runoff race Tuesday for their seats and GOP control of the Senate.
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During Trump’s Saturday call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the president demanded the official “find” enough votes to justify his claims of ballot shredding and election fraud. President-elect Joe Biden won the state by 11,779 votes, and during the call Trump vacillated between claims that he’d won by “hundreds of thousands of votes” and asking Raffensperger to find 11,780 votes in his favor.
By turns pleading, chiding, and reprimanding, the president went as far as to threaten Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, saying, “It is more illegal for you than it is for them, because you know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
The call drew harsh criticism from Democrats and some Republicans. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris called it a “bald-faced, bold abuse of power,” while Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, told The Hill it was “absolutely appalling.”
While Perdue was quick to jump to Trump’s defense, Loeffler, meanwhile, offered no direct response when asked about the president’s claims or his controversial hour-long phone call.
But both Georgia senators have campaigned on their loyalty to Trump. In November, they called on Raffensberger to “step down immediately” due to “too many failures in Georgia elections this year.” They did not, however, offer any evidence to support their claims. Perdue and Loeffler also threw their support behind a failed Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate Biden’s victory in Georgia.
Last week, they also both sidestepped a vote to overturn Trump’s veto on a defense authorization bill.
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“Are you ready to keep fighting for President Trump and show America that Georgia is a red state?” Loeffler said Thursday during a campaign rally in Norcross.
Despite being consumed with his loss, the president will appear at a last-ditch rally Monday ahead of the runoff elections. His mixed messaging and baseless claims of widespread election fraud could depress voter turnout on Tuesday and do more harm than good to his own party.
“You’re going to have people just not voting,” Trump said during his Saturday phone call with Raffensberger. “They don’t want to vote, they hate the state. They hate the governor, and they hate the secretary of state.”
Yet, he’s also urged supporters “to get ready to vote on Tuesday.”
Trump’s policy record has been particularly harmful to state residents. The president’s continuous attempts to weaken and dismantle the Affordable Care Act has left the state ranked fourth highest in the number of people without health insurance. It was also rated one of the worst states to raise a family in 2020 by markers such as housing, education, unemployment, and childcare—all policy areas diminished by the current administration.
The likelihood of whether or not another round of stimulus checks for Georgians impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will also depend on who wins the Senate.