Frustrated supporters of President Donald Trump in Georgia challenged Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on why they should even vote in the upcoming Senate runoffs if “rigged” elections are “already decided.”
McDaniel’s Saturday campaign stop in Marietta, Georgia, appeared to backfire as Trump supporters who have adopted the president’s conspiratorial accusations about “voter fraud” asked why their vote even matters. The scene doesn’t bode well for Republicans as they look to hang onto a thin U.S. Senate majority that hinges on prevailing in two January 5 runoff elections. Both incumbent Georgia GOP senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, face stiff challenges from Democratic candidates Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.
One baffled Trump supporter at the event asked how Republicans turned out in such “crazy numbers,” but somehow Joe Biden still defeated the president. He claimed “machines are switching the votes,” a baseless accusation lifted directly from Trump.
McDaniel was forced to defend the U.S. election system despite Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud. The GOP chairwoman found herself pushing back against the Republican president’s messaging, telling state GOP voters to worry about election fraud issues “later,” or at least to hold their concerns until after the all-important U.S. Senate runoffs.
“Why should we vote in this election when we know it’s already decided?” asked one demoralized Marietta voter.
“It’s not decided. This is the key—it’s not decided,” McDaniel told the irate crowd of Republican Trump supporters. The president lost the state by more than 12,000 votes in the November 3 election against Biden. “So if you lose your faith and you don’t vote and people walk away—that will decide it,” she warned attendees.
McDaniel was hit with a barrage of questions directly pertaining to Trump’s ongoing accusations of voter fraud, which he has extended to several other states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, where he lost by tens or even hundreds of thousands of votes. Trump supporters present at the event appeared apathetic about the upcoming vote, saying the expansion of “money and work when [the election] is already decided” seems pointless.
Trump warned Americans that “a lot of things” are set to change in terms of the presidential election outcome, despite state after state rejecting his campaign’s legal challenges. McDaniel’s appearance in Marietta on Saturday occurs in the same Cobb County where the local GOP chairman said Thursday they had not even signed on to attorney Sidney Powell’s typo-filled lawsuit contesting the election results.
Nonetheless, Trump has lashed out against several Georgia state lawmakers including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who he called “the enemy of the people,” a phrase used frequently in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union.
“Kemp is a crook!” one upset Trump supporter shouted at McDaniel Saturday, a reference to the state’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, who is also a very public backer of the president.
Biden holds a sizable electoral vote margin of victory, and he is pushing ahead with his transition into the White House on January 20. McDaniel’s visit to Georgia in support of Republican senators Loeffler and Perdue comes as Trump himself announced his own visit to the state ahead of the runoff races. The president said Thursday he plans to visit the state this coming week to campaign for Perdue and Loeffler.
Longtime Republican strategist Karl Rove noted on Fox News Saturday that if Democrats capture the seats, they “don’t need to change the rules” in order to undo Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which were written into law by the GOP majority. Instead they can use the Budget Control Act of 1974 and a move labeled “budget reconciliation” in order to do it with the simple majority of 50 senate votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris.
McDaniel pointed out to campaign stop attendees that Perdue was leading Ossoff by more than 88,000 votes, urging GOP voters to ensure they get out and vote in such a close race. Under Georgia state laws, a two-person runoff is held when no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, which occurred in the November 3 contests.
Newsweek reached out to the RNC and the Trump campaign for additional remarks Saturday afternoon.