Trump called Georgia’s governor to urge him to help overturn Biden’s win in the state.

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Trump called Georgia’s governor to urge him to help overturn Biden’s win in the state.

VALDOSTA, Ga. — Before President Trump arrived on Saturday to rally for two Republican Senate candidates, the president made no attempt to disguise his central priority as it relates to Georgia: overturning his loss in the state. He began the day with a telephone call with Gov. Brian Kemp, ostensibly to offer his condolences about the death in a car accident of a young man who was close to Mr. Kemp’s family.

But in truth, Mr. Trump used the call to urge Mr. Kemp, a Republican, to call the State Legislature into session so the Republican majorities could appoint new electors who would subvert the will of the state’s voters when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14. He has also called on Mr. Kemp to order an audit of signatures on ballots.

On Sunday, Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, said that holding a special session would be “nullifying the will of the people.”

“At the end of the day, the voice of the people were spoken,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I’m disappointed as a conservative Republican also.”

At the rally, Mr. Trump amplified the critique he had been making of Mr. Kemp much of the day on Twitter, all but demanding that the governor overturn the will of the voters for him. “Your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing,” the president said. “Stop it very easily.”

The crowd booed when he invoked Mr. Kemp and Mr. Raffensperger, two officials Mr. Trump has been demanding abet his effort to overturn the state’s results.

And they cheered when he turned to Representative Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican and Trump loyalist, and suggested he challenge Mr. Kemp in a primary for governor in 2022.

The president’s willingness to campaign Saturday night in heavily conservative South Georgia — far from the Atlanta-area voters who rejected him last month — heartened Republican officials, who have been lobbying him to intervene in the runoffs in support of Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. But aides worried, presciently, in the days leading to the appearance that he would go off script and attack Mr. Kemp, who has become the primary target of Mr. Trump’s Twitter vitriol.

Hoping to pacify Mr. Trump after Saturday’s phone call, Mr. Kemp noted on Twitter that he had already called for an audit of the signatures on mail ballots “to restore confidence in our election process.” But Mr. Kemp’s office has also said the governor does not have the power to unilaterally order a signature audit.

Mr. Raffensperger, a conservative who supported Mr. Trump, affirmed on Sunday that his office did not find sufficient evidence of fraud that would overturn the election results.

Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler have called for Mr. Raffensperger’s resignation, casting the management of Georgia’s elections as “an embarrassment.” Mr. Raffensperger said on Sunday that he still “absolutely” supported the senators.

“The job of the Republican Party is to raise money and turn out the vote,” he said. “My job as secretary of state is to make sure we have honest and fair elections. It’s as simple as that. And I think in my office, integrity matters.”

The state party failed to raise enough money and turn out enough people, he said. He also said that these “distractions” and the “disunity” would make it more difficult for Republican candidates.

Source: New York Times

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