Rep. Ayanna Pressley dubs Georgia GOP Sens. Loeffler and Perdue ‘the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption’

ayanna pressley
Rep. Ayanna Pressley speaks at a program voicing support for those protesting against police brutality against Black Americans in Boston on June 2, 2020.

  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Friday called Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue “the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption.”
  • The Massachusetts Democrat made the comments during an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid about turning out voters for the January 2021 runoff elections in the Peach State.
  • “Georgia, do your thing,” she said. “I know we’re asking a lot of Georgia … Do what you do. All eyes are on Georgia.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Friday slammed Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, calling them “the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption.”

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” with host Joy Reid, the Massachusetts Democrat spoke about turning out voters for the January 2021 runoff elections in the state, which will determine control of the US Senate.

“Georgia, do your thing,” she said. “I know we’re asking a lot of Georgia. But do your thing, Georgia. Do what you do. All eyes are on Georgia. [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [of Kentucky]…Loeffler, Perdue – they are the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption.”

She added: “They are all the same. We need to regain control of the Senate. Georgia, do what you do.”

An analysis by The New York Times showed that Perdue sometimes made more than 20 stock transactions in one day, and he made nearly 2,600 trades during his first term in office. His financial transactions came under scrutiny this past year, with the Times reporting that “the Justice Department had investigated the senator for possible insider trading in his sale of more than $1 million worth of stock in a financial-analysis firm, Cardlytics.”

Though prosecutors ultimately did not file charges, questions lingered about stock trading among all senators and potential conflicts of interest.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department began an investigation into Loeffler after she sold millions of dollars’ worth of stock in January after a briefing about the coronavirus. No charges were filed in her case, and she has denied any wrongdoing, calling attacks against her “a political witch hunt by the fake news media.”

On December 15, President-elect Joe Biden visited Georgia to stump for the challengers to Loeffler and Perdue, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Loeffler, who is running in a special election to fill the remaining term of GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, and Perdue, who is running for reelection to a second term, both fell below the 50% threshold to win their races outright, which necessitated runoff elections.

The 2020 elections produced a 50-48 advantage for the Republicans, with the outstanding Georgia Senate races making the difference in McConnell keeping control of the chamber or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York becoming the new majority leader. If Democrats can win both seats, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be able to break tie votes, giving the party control of the Senate for the first time since 2015.

As of Friday morning, over 1.1 million voters had already cast ballots for the runoff elections, according to Reuters.

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Trump retweeted a call to have him jailed but Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp still won’t concede that Trump lost the election

Brian Kemp-Donald Trump
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp greets President Donald Trump in Marietta, Georgia.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wouldn’t concede that President Donald Trump has lost the election, even as Trump called him a “clown” and a “fool” this week and retweeted a post that called for him to be jailed.

In a new interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kemp stalled in regards to questions related to Trump and the presidential election, saying he is currently respecting the legal process and will “reevaluate that when all that plays out.” Biden was affirmed the president-elect on Monday after the Electoral College voted, and on Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the election results.

As the Trump campaign and other backers’ lawsuits failed in Georgia, Trump has turned his criticism towards Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who he feels are not doing enough to overturn the election in his favor. 

“It’s ridiculous, quite honestly, that many are blaming me for being responsible for what happened in the election,” Kemp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Kemp also did not address Joe Biden as “president-elect.”

“No one has worked harder for the president. I’ve said that many times, going into the election all the way through November 3, and I’ve supported his legal efforts under the laws and the Constitution. At the end of the day, I’ve also got to follow the same laws and the same Constitution,” he added.

Raffensperger recently called for a limited audit of signatures of mail-in ballots in Cobb County, which Kemp endorsed. Over the last month, Kemp issued at least three separate calls for a wider Georgia audit, which he reminded Trump on Twitter. 

 

In late November, Trump told Fox News he was ashamed to have endorsed Kemp and called on Rep. Doug Collins to challenge Kemp for governor in 2022. 

And this week on Twitter, Trump’s anger at Kemp was amplified.

“What a fool Governor @BrianKempGA of Georgia is. Could have been so easy, but now we have to do it the hard way. Demand this clown call a Special Session and open up signature verification, NOW. Otherwise, could be a bad day for two GREAT Senators on January 5th,” Trump tweeted on December 13.

 

Two days later, Trump retweeted a sinister warning from Lin Wood, who has filed lawsuits trying to overturn election resutlts, which said, “President Trump is a genuinely good man. He does not really like to fire people. I bet he dislikes putting people in jail, especially ‘Republicans.’ He gave @BrianKempGA & @GaSecofState every chance to get it right.”

 

The tweet included a photoshopped picture of Kemp and Raffensperger in masks with the Chinese flag imprinted on them. “They refused. They will soon be going to jail,” Wood tweeted.

In the interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kemp also sidestepped claims of widespread voter fraud which Raffensperger, state, and federal officials have rejected.

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If Democrats want to win in Georgia and seize the Senate, they need to go on the attack

Trump Georgia rally
President Donald Trump headlined a campaign rally in Valdosta, Ga., for Sens. David Perdue, left, and Kelly Loeffler, right.

  • Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are running for two Senate seats and control of the Senate hangs in the balance.
  • Down ballot Democrats struggled on Election Day because they went on the defensive. To win in Georgia and take back the Senate, Democrats need to go on the offensive and attack the GOP.
  • A great line of attack for Democrats in Georgia would be to pin the Republican candidates — Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — to the GOP’s biggest loser: Donald Trump.
  • Michael Gordon is a longtime Democratic strategist, a former spokesman for the Justice Department, and the principal for the strategic-communications firm Group Gordon.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Despite the hopes for a “Blue Wave,” Republicans surprised Democrats and many election analysts in November by holding onto 50 seats in the US Senate – just one seat away from retaining their majority. As usual, Democrats underestimated the Republican attack machine and the power of their false claims about Democratic socialism and defunding the police

But despite the strong GOP showing, there are two final Senate seats still up for grabs. The good people of Georgia have the chance to prevent Sen. Mitch McConnell from remaining majority leader and the grim reaper of progress. 

In the two runoffs that will decide control of the Senate, the Democratic candidates face historically long odds. Both contests are tight, and both Democratic candidates began their races as the underdog. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and Democrats need to leave it all on the field. 

The GOP has overperformed by keeping the Democrats on defense. In order to pull off their own Senate surprise, Democrats must flip the field and go on offense. 

Tie ’em to Trump

In November, the Georgia electorate joined a chorus of battleground victories in rejecting Trumpism. The statewide win for President-elect Joe Biden shows a path forward for Democrats. They should put the GOP’s biggest loser back on the ballot in the Peach State in order to secure a win in January. 

Even after President Donald Trump’s loss, Senate Republicans have shown that there is no daylight between themselves and the outgoing commander. Their latest hits include shrugging their shoulders when the president fired officials who defied him and hiding when he alleged voter fraud with no substantive evidence. 

In recent weeks, GOP senators have reached alarming levels of brazenness. Their bullying of Georgia election officials failed to strip power from Georgia voters but succeeded in showing the GOP’s disregard for law and the democratic process. 

Equally alarming has been Senate Republicans’ failure to denounce violent threats against election officials – and the dangerous rhetoric from the president and his team that incited these threats. Their tacit approval of violence has put the safety of Georgians – including many Republicans – at risk

Even Attorney General Bill Barr and the US Supreme Court have stood up to Trump on his election charade, but the Senate GOP is a profile in cowardice, not courage.

A vote against dysfunction

For their parts, Georgia’s GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have made no moves to jump off the Trump train. In fact, they’ve become first class passengers. The pair have been loyal battleground soldiers in Trump’s futile election fight. 

They have attacked honorable Georgia Republicans doing their jobs – or stood silently while the President came after GOP allies. They sided with a lawsuit against their state that the Republican Attorney General had strongly condemned. They fan the flames of chaos as tensions and threats increase in their state.

As Loeffler and Perdue continue to stand with the President and refuse to acknowledge his defeat, it’s clear who’s really on the ballot in these runoffs.

They have tied themselves inextricably to Trump and have made it clear that a vote for them is a vote for all things Trump: his failure on the pandemic, his tanking of the economy, and his all-out assault on the will of Georgia’s electorate.

Votes for Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are votes for progress and against the dysfunction in Washington that McConnell and company will surely bring. They also will be votes against the lame duck who is departing January 20. 

The alternative is gridlock and partisanship that will benefit no one other than our nation’s enemies. Democrats should label Senate Republicans as the Trump puppets they are and drive home that unless they are defanged, they will smear President-elect Joe Biden’s term with a bright orange stain. 

It’s time for Democrats to make the election – and the country – about the collective GOP failure of the past four years. Everything the national majority voted for in November depends on it. 

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Trump supporters chant ‘destroy the GOP’ at a rally in Washington DC, after Republican officials in Georgia refused to back the president’s bid to overturn the election

Stop the Steal, DC
US President Donald Trump flies in Marine-1 over a pro-Trump rally of supporters demonstrating against the election results, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

  • At a rally in Washington DC Saturday, Trump supporters vented their anger at Republican party officials who’ve refused to take part in President Trump’s bid to subvert the election. 
  • “Destroy the GOP,” some chanted at the event, according to video footage posted online. 
  • The rally was attended by supporters including Alex Jones and Michael Flynn, and Trump took part in a Marine One flyover in a show of support.
  • The anger shown by the supporters will likely fuel concern about a growing rift in the party between backers of Trump’s groundless election fraud claims, and those who have rejected them. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Trump supporters chanted “destroy the GOP” at a rally in Washington DC on Saturday, venting their anger at Republican state officials who refused to take part in President Trump’s bid to overturn the election result and cling to power. 

According to footage of the rally posted on Twitter, far-right activist Nick Fuentes addressed supporters, attacking the Republican Party and alleging that it had failed to keep Trump in power.

Fuentes, in a tweet Saturday, posted a picture of himself addressing the rally, and wrote “We are going to destroy the GOP and transform it into a party that truly puts AMERICA FIRST!”

 

“In the first Million MAGA march, we promised that if the GOP did not do everything in their power to keep Trump in office, then we would destroy the GOP,” said Fuentes through a megaphone. 

“As we gather here in Washington DC for a second Million MAGA March, we’re done making promises. It has to happen now. We are going to destroy the GOP,” he continued, to cheers and applause from Trump supporters. 

The crowd, many wearing red caps emblazoned with Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan, then started chanting, “Destroy the GOP! Destroy the GOP!”

 

In recent weeks a rift has emerged in the Republican party, with Trump and his supporters attacking Republican officials in swing states, such as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.

He is one of a number of Republican officials in key states who have refused to obey Trump’s demands and block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

The Trump campaign has alleged widespread ballot fraud in the election while producing no convincing evidence to support the claim. The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to overturn the election result, in a conclusive blow to the bid to overturn the election. 

In a sign of the hold Trump still has over the Republican base, recent polls have found that most Republican voters believe his claims of mass voter fraud, while hundreds of GOP members of the House of Representatives backed the failed Supreme Court lawsuit. 

The rift has led to concerns among some Republicans that Trump supporters could boycott the crucial January 5 Senate runoffs, imperiling the party’s chances of retaining control of the US Senate. 

Saturday’s rally was attended by thousands of Trump supporters, though the turnout was reportedly not as large as last month’s Stop the Steal rally in the US capital. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and former national security director Michael Flynn, who are revered by the president’s base, were among the supporters who attended. 

 

Trump flew over the rally several times in Marine One on his way to the Army-Navy game, in a nod of support to the protesters. 

Later, violence flared, as members of the far-right Proud Boys clashed with supporters of the far-left Antifa group. The Washington Post, citing DC fire department spokesman, Doug Buchanan, said four people had been hospitalized with stab wounds. 

 

 

 

 

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After Biden’s win in Georgia, the state’s GOP House Speaker wants to strip voters from choosing the Secretary of State

David Ralston Georgia
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston.

  • Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on Thursday called for a constitutional amendment to allow state legislators to choose the Secretary of State, which would take away the responsibility from voters.
  • The proposal is seen as a response to lingering Republican dissatisfaction with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and President-elect Joe Biden’s statewide victory in Georgia.
  • Voters would have to approve the constitutional amendment for the drastic change to be made.
  • “In a clear power grab, Ralston and the Trump campaign want to give the General Assembly the power to select winners of elections and violate the will of the people,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in a statement.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on Thursday called for a constitutional amendment to allow state legislators to choose the Secretary of State – thereby taking away the responsibility from voters – in response to continued Republican unrest over President-elect Joe Biden’s statewide victory over President Donald Trump in the November election.

Ralston, a Republican, said that legislators in the GOP-controlled Georgia General Assembly, which includes the state House of Representatives and Senate, would select the Secretary of State, who runs statewide elections, upon approval of the amendment.

However, voters would have to approve the constitutional amendment.

After Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, declined to participate in a state Senate hearing on the election, Ralston said that he was “shocked” and “disappointed” by the move, according to Atlanta’s NBC affiliate 11 Alive.

“As the state’s chief elections official, it is incumbent on the Secretary of State to be responsive to the People’s House and faithfully perform his or her duties in accordance with the laws passed by the General Assembly,” he said a press briefing.

Expressing his support for the legislature picking the secretary of state, he added: “I think it’s the only way to right this ship. I don’t do this lightly. I don’t do this disrespectfully to the incumbent who I have personal regard for, but I do it because we have a job to do as members of the House and members of the Senate.”

The legislature chooses the secretary of state in only three states – Maine, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.

Raffensperger has been the target of attacks from President Donald Trump and party members who have pushed debunked narratives of widespread fraud in the election, allegations that Raffensperger has consistently denied.

The secretary of state’s office forcefully replied to the intraparty legislative proposal.

“In a clear power grab, Ralston and the Trump campaign want to give the General Assembly the power to select winners of elections and violate the will of the people,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in a statement.

In an interview with Business Insider’s Grace Panetta, Raffensperger defended the integrity of Georgia’s results, calling it “the most secure election ever.”

“Every time these rumors come up, it’s like the rumor whack-a-mole, we go ahead and we address it, and we have a transparent process and we have press releases on a daily basis … but also there’s been a lot of misinformation and honestly, disinformation or outright lying,” he said of the rampant election misinformation pushed by Trump and many of his allies.

Biden won Georgia and its 16 electoral votes by a little over 12,000 votes out of nearly 5 million votes cast statewide, the first Democratic presidential victory in the Southern state since 1992.

On December 7, the state recertified Biden’s win after a recount was completed last week.

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The US Supreme Court rejects GOP bid to overturn the 2020 election

Trump rose garden sad
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at an event on “protecting seniors with diabetes” in the Rose Garden White House, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Washington.

  • The US Supreme Court has rejected a bid by Texas and other Republican-led states to overturn the 2020 election.
  • In an opinion issued Friday, the court said Texas lacked standing and had not demonstrated a right to interfere in how other states administer their elections.
  • The effort to throw out the vote in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia was supported by a majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The nation’s highest court has rejected an effort by US President Donald Trump and other Republicans to overturn the 2020 election.

In a brief order issued Friday, the US Supreme Court said a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was denied a hearing due to a lack of standing.

Paxton and other Republican attorneys general, as well as a majority of those elected to the House of Representatives, had argued the popular vote in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia should be disregarded over unsubstantiated allegations of fraud and that GOP-led state legislatures should be allowed to select pro-Trump electors instead.

That demand – an unprecedented request for judges to intervene and overrule a democratic outcome – had prompted some dissent among some, but certainly not all, conservatives.

“That doesn’t sound like a very Republican argument to me,” Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said in an interview airing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” citing federalism and the right of states to administer their own elections.

That argument was echoed by the Supreme Court. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections,” the justices wrote.

Democrats, meanwhile, continue to sound the alarm. Speaking to The Washington Post, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut warned that, while unlikely to be successful this time around, the legitimization of efforts to subvert democracy bodes ill for the future.

“If this becomes at all normalized more broadly than it already is, they will steal an election two years from now or four years from now,” Murphy said.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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There have been guns, pressure, and intimidation, but electors say extremists won’t stop them from casting their vote for Joe Biden on Monday

electoral college vote us elections belong to the people trump biden protest
Thousands of New Yorkers joined the “March to Protect The Results” to celebrate after the Biden-Harris ticket won the majority of Electoral College votes.

  • US electors will cast their votes on Monday, officially securing Joe Biden’s election as the nation’s 46th president.
  • While the Electoral College meeting is largely pro forma, it’s an honor bestowed on politically involved citizens that’s worth celebrating.
  • This year, though, electors have been the target of intimidating messages from extremists seeking to pressure them to vote for Donald Trump instead.
  • Several electors spoke to Insider about this experience and why it won’t can’t sway them from staying the course on December 14.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Being appointed as a US elector is often a once in a lifetime honor that politically involved citizens look forward to and celebrate.

But this year, a group of extremists who believe conspiracy theories that the election was rigged or stolen from President Donald Trump have dampened the experience by aggressively trying to intimidate electors not to vote for President-elect Joe Biden on Monday.

Electors Khary Penebaker, of Wisconsin; Van Johnson, of Georgia; and Mark Miller, of Michigan, are among those who were on the receiving end of some of the pressure in recent weeks. All three are Democrats, and say they won’t be swayed by the concerning behavior.

More than a month after most US voters cast their ballots in the 2020 election, the 538 electors will cast their vote to officially make Biden the next president. Americans don’t directly elect the president. The founders devised the Electoral College system whereby electors do. Most states use a winner-takes-all system to give all of their electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes in that state.

This year, electors are receiving threatening messages from Trump supporters

Michigan election protest
People gather at the Michigan State Capitol for a rally in support of President Donald Trump on November 14, 2020, in Lansing, Michigan, backing backing Trump’s incorrect claim that the election was fraudulent.

Penebaker, who’s also a vocal gun reform activist, told Insider that the threatening messages started coming as early as election night, and they were all on social media.

Most of them came from Trump loyalists using irrational logic to try to convince him that he should be a “faithless elector” by casting his ballot for Trump instead. Some messages said they didn’t believe Penebaker’s vote should count in the electoral college.

“What they failed to realize, No. 1, is that I committed to voting for Joe Biden as an elector. No. 2 is that I voted for Joe Biden in the primary as a citizen,” Penebaker said. “I’m a proud Democrat. The last thing I’m going to do is go against the things that I stand for just because of someone wants to harass me or come up with some crazy logic about why I shouldn’t.”

On Sunday, one man visited Penebaker’s personal Instagram page and posted a message on a photo of his son trying to pressure him to vote for Trump.

“I took my son to get a cool haircut, so I took the picture and put it on Instagram. This guy comes on and comments that I shouldn’t vote for Joe Biden,” Penebaker said. “I responded that, do you honestly think that behaving this way, commenting on my son’s picture, is a way to convince me to not to do something I want to do?”

While there were no direct threats in the notes to the three electors, the nature of them is concerning at a time when armed Trump supporters have surrounded the homes of Democrats and Republicans who they disagree with, the electors told Insider.

Michigan election
Motorists participate in a drive-by rally to certify the presidential election results near the Capitol building in Lansing, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.

Mob-like protesters have targeted election officials and protested outside their homes

This month, mob-like protesters have targeted elected officials in several states.

In Michigan, dozens of armed protesters surrounded the home of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, screaming at her while she tried to watch a Christmas movie with her son, NPR reported.

They targeted her because of her role overseeing elections in the state.

“At least one individual could be heard shouting ‘you’re murderers’ within earshot of her child’s bedroom,” officials told NPR.

In Idaho, hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside a county health district headquarters and at least three board members’ homes as the county considered changes to COVID-19 safety mandates.

A county commissioner had to leave the meeting early after she learned protesters were outside her house, where her 12-year-old son was home alone, the Idaho Press reported.

Earlier this year, armed lockdown protesters stormed the Michigan state capitol in opposition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of the state’s stay-at-home order. The FBI also stopped a plot by a far-right extremist group to kidnap Whitmer.

Michigan protest .JPG
Armed protesters stand in front of the governor’s office after protesters occupied the Michigan state capitol building in Lansing during a vote to approve the extension of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order due to COVID-19.

“While I would say the overwhelming majority of them wouldn’t do anything to us, I don’t think they’ll engage in any violence towards us, but those who are more extreme are the ones that will,” Penebaker told Insider. “They will take this all personally and believe that they have been robbed of something sacred.”

“Those are the people who are going to lash out in violence,” Penebaker, who is Black, added. “And the people that they are likely to attack are going to be people who look like me.”

Johnson, who is also the mayor of Savannah, Georgia, has also been targeted by extremists that he refers to a “Trumpocrats” in the last month.

“These are not Republicans as I’ve known,” he said.

Johnson, a former law enforcement officer, said the messages his staff has received haven’t been outright threats of violence, but that his office has increased security protocols to keep everyone safe.

“When it was announced I was an elector, we would get those little phone calls about, people just saying – I wouldn’t say threatening things – but certainly mean and inappropriate things,” Johnson said. “During the times we live in, anything is possible. You can’t take your personal safety for granted.”

In Michigan, Miller, a town clerk in Kalamazoo, said he heard from Trump supporters in the days after the election, but the emails have since stopped.

He told Insider that he’s aware of the potential for protests during the Monday meeting of the electors, but isn’t too worried.

“Several of us right immediately after the election received some emails from folks spinning wild conspiracy theories about Joe Biden and pedophile rings and all this kind of garbage, and telling us that we shouldn’t vote for him,” Miller said. “Yes, we did have situations in Michigan, in Lansing, with people showing up with long guns in protests against Gov. Whitmer’s measures against the virus. So it’s possible that people could show  up, but I’m going to trust that our security will be taken care of, and I’m not overly concerned.”

biden pennsylvania vote count electoral college philadelphia
Former Vice President and presidential nominee Joe Biden greets supporters at his childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November, 3, 2020.

A virus and political strife will dampen this year’s meeting of the electors

Penebaker attended a briefing over Zoom this week preparing electors for the event on Monday.

“Because of the pandemic, the pomp and circumstance and, you know, the funner part of it wont be happening,” he said. “It’s going to be pretty straightforward. There are six certificates that each one of us needs to sign, six signatures for each elector. We’ll be in a large room that allows for social distancing, and we’ll be masked.”

The event will be closed to the public, but will be live-streamed.

During the briefing, there were advisories about how to avoid possible protesters, but that information is not being released to the public for safety reasons, Penebaker said.

Miller and Johnson also said the meetings in their states will be a little different this year.

“Under COVID conditions, I’d like to get a picture next to the governor, but I dont think that will happen,” Miller said. “We’ll be socially distanced, we’ll be masked, we will have a table where all the certificates will be laid out and there are multiple copies … we’ll sign our name on the line a number of times.”

“It’s kind of pro forma, but it’s an honor nonetheless,” he added.

In some states, like Nevada, electors won’t even be meeting in person.

“The Nevada electors are meeting virtually via Zoom. While there may be increased activity at the Capitol in Carson City, we have not had any threats and do not anticipate any,” Jennifer Russell, spokeswoman for Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, told Insider. “None of the meeting components are taking place here. Each of the electors will participate from a location of his [or] her choosing.”

Under any conditions, being an elector is a privilege

biden electoral college trump 2017
Then-Vice President Joe Biden presents an Electoral College ballot during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2017. Congress certified Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential victory over the objections of a handful of House Democrats, with Vice President Joe Biden pronouncing, “It is over.”

Penebaker told Insider that, on some level, he can sympathize with some of the men and women who have been consumed by the conspiracy theories and propelled into what they believe is activism.

“It’s honestly unfortunate because these folks have been lied to by Trump and his enablers. People are being made to believe that there is this widespread conspiracy where Democrats and Republicans have stolen this election, but only from Donald Trump,” he said. “They keep believing these things and it’s going to drive them crazy and it’s going to drive them to act violently. That’s not what a democracy is supposed to be like; it’s not what this country is about.”

Penebaker said the behavior of these people has ventured out of the realm of politics and become “cult-like.”

“I think people, at their core, just want to believe in something. It’s unfortunate that the thing they believe in is based on lies,” he said. “With cults, those cult leaders can make you do hideous things; whether that’s harming yourself, someone you love, or someone you don’t even like.”

Johnson agrees that the divisiveness of 2020 is like nothing he’s seen in politics before and believes that it will stick around for a while.

“I don’t think we’ll ever go back to normal, unfortunately. I think the lines have been drawn in the sand, and the lines of stability have been forever blurred,” Johnson said. “Long after the election is over, I think for quite some time, you’ll still have people who are doubting the election.”

Despite the negativity, though, none of the electors would let these tensions sway them from carrying out their duty on Monday.

“Have you considered that John Lewis walked across the Pettus Bridge knowing the brutality that was waiting on the other side and still kept going; the threats that Dr. King got and he still kept going; the threats that Malcolm X got and he still kept going?” Penebaker said. “I don’t have a fraction of what those amazing human beings had, and I’m going to keep going, too. There’s nothing that they can do that will stop my vote on Monday.”

Capitol police in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia didn’t return calls and emails seeking comment about security on Monday.

“I feel exhilarated and humbled and cautious all at the same time,” Johnson said. “It’s just a waiting game, it’s running out the clock. Monday at 12 noon is the day Georgia will cast 16 votes for the president and the vice president of the United States, and I’ll be blessed to be among them.”

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‘It’s time for us to move on’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan fears that Trump’s election legal battles are hurting the GOP’s image

Geoff Duncan
Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, a Republican, speaks on the floor of the State Senate.

  • Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, on Tuesday said that President Donald Trump’s continued legal challenges against the election results could tarnish the party’s image.
  • “It’s time for us as a country and as a party to move on,” he said. “I’m very, very worried that this affects our brand of conservatism.”
  • The chasm between Duncan and the GOP blew open when Trump slammed the lieutenant governor on Twitter, calling him “a RINO Never Trumper” who was elected “by falsely claiming to be ‘pro-Trump.'”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, on Tuesday said that the President Donald Trump’s legal battles contesting the results of the 2020 election could hurt the party’s “brand of conservatism.”

During a CNN interview with host Erin Burnett, Duncan pleaded with the party to concentrate on winning the state’s Senate runoff elections in January instead of devoting resources to the Trump campaign’s string of unsuccessful lawsuits to overturn the election results. 

Duncan, who was elected to his position in 2018, has accepted President-elect Joe Biden’s win, while most of his party has either chosen to remain silent on the matter or deny the Democrat’s victory. The lieutenant governor has rejected efforts to both prove fealty to Trump and spread debunked claims of voter fraud.

“It’s time for us as a country and as a party to move on,” Duncan said. “I’m very, very worried that this affects our brand of conservatism. The Republican Party, we’ve got good days in front of us. We need to keep looking for opportunities to improve.”

In a direct criticism of Trump’s online behavior, he added: “We need to communicate better. Two hundred and eighty characters on Twitter is not enough for us to be able to communicate to America, and especially those folks that maybe aren’t with us on every single issue.”

The disconnect between Duncan and most of the GOP was thrust into the national spotlight when the president on Monday attacked the lieutenant governor on Twitter, calling him “a RINO Never Trumper who got himself elected as LG by falsely claiming to be ‘pro-Trump'” and “too dumb or corrupt to recognize massive evidence of fraud.”

A “RINO” is a pejorative term generally reserved for members of the GOP who aren’t considered to be true conservatives.

Duncan responded by praising Trump’s time in office and then acknowledging his election loss. He also pushed for the GOP to mobilize for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who face stiff challenges from Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, in two key races that will determine control of the Senate.

“Thank you for 4 years of conservative leadership @realdonaldtrump,” he tweeted. “You’ve proven that a business minded outsider can be effective in DC and your legacy will last a generation in our Supreme Ct. Let’s agree that re-electing Kelly Loeffler & David Perdue should be your top priority.”

Despite the litany of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign, including multiple legal challenges in Georgia, the cases have overwhelmingly gone nowhere

Trump has repeatedly slammed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for unproven allegations of voter irregularities in the state, something that the Republican leader has rejected. On December 5, the president spoke with Kemp by phone to persuade the governor to call a special legislative session to overturn the election results and install pro-Trump Electoral College electors.

Kemp declined to take up Trump’s demand.

On December 8, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a frequent Trump target, recertified the state’s election results showing that Biden defeated Trump in the presidential race. The president-elect won the state by a little over 12,000 votes, edging out Trump in the longtime GOP stronghold and securing its 16 electoral votes.

“Unfortunately, the guy I voted for did not win,” Duncan told CNN. “The person I campaigned for did not win.”

But, he added, “It’s time for us to move on.”

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Georgia’s Republican lieutenant governor confirms Biden won his state as Trump sows misinformation about the race: ‘This election was fair’

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, right, and CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday.
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, right, and CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday.

  • Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, on Sunday weighed in on Biden winning his state.  
  • Trump has been called out for spreading misinformation about the results of the presidential race in Georgia, and, according to reports, tried to pressure Georgia’s governor to help overturn Biden’s win there.
  • Two runoff elections, or races held when no candidate wins the required majority of votes, are going to be held early next month in Georgia that will determine which party controls the Senate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, on Sunday weighed in on President-elect Biden winning his state in the November presidential election while President Trump attempts to spread doubt and panic about that fact.

“As the lieutenant governor and a Georgian, I’m proud that we’re able to look up after three recounts and watch and be able to see that this election was fair,” Duncan said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. 

“If I had a chance to spend five minutes with every single person in Georgia that doubted the election results, I think I’d be able to win their hearts over, show them the facts and figures, separate fact from fiction. But certainly, I don’t have that opportunity,” he said, adding that Biden is indeed set to be sworn in as the 46th US president next month. 

Read more: How to vote in Georgia’s US Senate runoff elections in January

Duncan, who said that he voted for President Trump and campaigned for him, made his remarks one month before two runoff elections, or races held when no candidate wins the required majority of votes, are going to be held in his state that will determine the Senate majority.

Trump has repeatedly tried to push misinformation about the results of the presidential race in Georgia, and, according to reports, tried to pressure Georgia’s governor to help overturn Biden’s win there.

The Washington Post first reported that Trump on Saturday called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and unsuccessfully tried to push him to convince state legislators to overturn Biden’s win there. Kemp declined, according to the Post, and a Trump campaign spokesperson declined to comment to the Post. 

Read more: Georgia voting manager says he now has ‘police protection’ to guard against threats caused by Trump’s election disinformation

Also on Satuday, a US federal appeals court dismissed a bid by a conservative lawyer to block Biden’s win in the state.

In the Georgia runoffs, Republican David Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in one race and in the other, a special election, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is running against Democrat Raphael Warnock.

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‘If I lost, I’d be a very gracious loser,’ Trump said during a rally where he falsely claimed he won an election that he lost

trump rally georgia
President Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) on December 05, 2020 in Valdosta, Georgia.

  • During a rally in Georgia on Saturday where President Donald Trump claimed he won an election that he lost, he said, “If I lost, I’d be a very gracious loser.”
  • The president was campaigning on behalf of Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are facing Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the runoff election next month.
  • Enough states have certified their election results to give President-elect Joe Biden the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House.
  • Trump has refused to concede the election, instead mounting legal challenges and spreading unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

During a rally in Georgia on Saturday where President Donald Trump claimed he won an election that he lost, he said, “If I lost, I’d be a very gracious loser.”

The president was campaigning on behalf of Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are facing Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the runoff election next month.

Trump began his remarks by falsely claiming he won Georgia in the presidential race, but the state has already certified its election results, declaring President-elect Joe Biden the winner.

He also repeated many of his unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud, falsely claiming that he won the presidential election.

“If I lost, I would say I lost, and I’d go to Florida and I’d take it easy,” Trump said.

 

“But you can’t ever accept when they steal and rake and rob,” he said, referring to his unproven fraud claims.

Trump has refused to concede the election, even after enough states have certified their results to give Biden the 270 electoral college votes he needs to win the White House.

Trump and his allies have continued to contest the results, filing a flurry of lawsuits in swing states. They have lost the vast majority of their legal challenges, with some still pending.

“You know I thought we were going to easily win,” Trump said. “Instead I probably worked harder in the last three weeks than I ever have in my life.”

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