Between two hurtful tangents over his presidential loss, President Donald Trump briefly swore at a campaign rally on Saturday night that he really wanted to talk about the apparent reason he was in Georgia. But even then, he almost admitted he was doing it reluctantly.
“I want to stay in the presidential election, but I have to get to those two, ”Trump said at one point, gesturing to the senses. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), for whom he was supposed to campaign.
“I don’t like doing it for other people,” he said later, noting that he was not sure if anyone showed up at the rally.
Either way, the president swiftly returned to the presidential election anyway, and into the web of far-fetched conspiracies and long debunked lies that he has used over and over again to explain his loss to the Democrat Joe Biden, during nearly two. 1-hour rally in the town of Valdosta, South Georgia.
Trump has spent some time dutifully delivering his lines to bolster the two GOP senators, who must win their January election in the second round for the party to retain control of the Senate. And he resumed his favorite attacks on the “radical left” to attack the Democratic candidates who ran against them.
But the president, and the crowd there to see him, were clearly more invested in the election that just happened than in the one to come. Trump, in the end, spent much more time launching repeated debates about the integrity of Georgia’s electoral system and torching state GOP officials for not doing enough to fix a “rigged election.” That he did not mention Loeffler and Perdue or even their opponents.
“You know we won Georgia, just so you understand,” were the president’s first words as he took to the stage, to massive cheers and applause. His opening remarks were garnished with references to state election conspiracy theories that have become popular on the right – allegations that the ballot boxes were stuffed or that some votes for him were missing, none of which have been backed up by election officials.
When the time came for Perdue and Loeffler’s brief turn to deliver their own remarks, the crowd shouted at them with cries of “fight for Trump!” Struggling to be heard by the chants, Perdue came up with this line: “We will fight to get you a fair and square deal in the state of Georgia. God bless you, Mr. President. “
For weeks, concern grew within the GOP over Trump’s relentless rhetoric undermining his supporters’ confidence in Georgia’s electoral system ahead of the most crucial congressional election in recent memory. And while leading Republicans have reportedly urged Trump to travel to Georgia to rally his base ahead of the second round, there were concerns that the president would use the spotlight to voice his grievances and continue to foster distrust of the electoral system.
Trump ended up doing all of the above. But he also tried to cement a cognitive dissonance among his supporters – that the election may have been stolen from him and that the Georgian system was rigged helplessly by thoughtless Republicans and deceptive Democrats, but voters need to when even go and vote.
To do so, he suggested, would avenge him. “They will come in,” Trump said of Perdue and Loeffler, “and we’ll fix the system.”
And referring to calls from some Trump supporters to boycott the second round, Trump admitted, “It was my instinct. You are angry and you say we can’t do this. But, he added, “we have to do the exact opposite. If you don’t vote, the socialists and the communists win.
After whipping between the teleprompter-fueled lines about Senate races and his spontaneous complaints about the election, Trump appeared to come back in shape, ending the rally with a rambling repetition of his own accomplishments as if he was doing it. was acting out of a rally for his own presidential campaign.
Indeed, at various times Trump has alluded to the inability to secure a second term – rhetoric validated by Perdue’s onstage promise to ensure he gets a “fair” outcome in the state. “They cheated and they rigged our presidential election, but we’re still going to win it,” Trump said at one point. At another point, he said he would be sent back to the Supreme Court, even though his legal team’s efforts to overturn the elections have so far been repeatedly shot in court.
Even his arguments for Republicans to vote in the second round were ultimately fueled by the election he claims was stolen. “If you want to do something to them,” Trump said of the Democrats, “I don’t want to use the word revenge: show up and vote in record numbers.”
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