Trump Assails Vote Integrity While Urging Turnout in Georgia

VALDOSTA, Georgia (AP) -
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senate Republican candidates, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., at Valdosta Regional Airport, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Valdosta, Ga. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump pressed his grievances over losing the presidential election Saturday, using a rally to discuss allegations of misconduct in last month’s voting in Georgia and beyond as he pushed supporters to turn out for a pair of Republican Senate candidates in a runoff election in January.

“Let them steal Georgia again, you’ll never be able to look yourself in the mirror,” Trump told rallygoers.

Trump’s 100-minute rally before thousands of supporters came not long after he was rebuffed by Georgia’s Republican governor in his call for a special legislative session to give him the state’s electoral votes.

The Jan. 5 Senate runoffs in Georgia will determine the balance of power in Washington after Biden takes office.

Republicans need one victory to maintain their Senate majority. Democrats need a Georgia sweep to force a 50-50 Senate and position Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote. Party officials had hoped the president would dedicate his energy to imploring supporters to vote in the runoff, when Perdue and Loeffler try to hold off Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.

Trump did echo Republican rhetoric that the races amounted to “the most important congressional runoff, probably in American history.”

“I want to stay on presidential,” Trump said minutes into his speech. “But I got to get to these two.” He praised the GOP lawmakers, Perdue for his support for military spending and Loeffler for pushing for early coronavirus relief spending.

Chants of “Fight for Trump” drowned out the two senators as they briefly spoke to the crowd.