Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, puts President Donald Trump’s post-Election Day behavior on blast in a new op-ed for USA Today. Raffensperger is not a “Never Trumper” — he says in this op-ed that he and his family voted for Trump. However, Raffensperger sounds fed up with the conspiratorial, anti-democratic tactics that Trump and his allies have employed in their baseless fight against the election results. After noting that his family has been “thrown under the bus” by the president, Raffensperger solemnly notes that in “times of uncertainty, when the integrity of our political system is most at risk, the integrity of our politicians is paramount.” Has Trump approached meaningful integrity at any point since Election Day?
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 25, 2020
Trump has singled out Raffensperger for criticism over the state’s signature-matching procedures for mail-in ballots. Referring to Raffensperger as a “RINO,” meaning “Republican in Name Only,” Trump has claimed that Raffensperger was blocking frontline workers from double-checking signatures during the state’s recent election audit, but this claim isn’t true — Raffensperger wasn’t blocking double-checking signatures. Meaningfully double-checking signatures during any recount in Georgia is physically impossible because mail-in ballots and the envelopes in which they arrived, which contain the signatures, are separated immediately after the first round of signature verification.
This issue is one of a few that have swirled around the Georgia electoral process. Trump has outright claimed that he won the state, although now, the state has certified their results in which Biden wins and gets the state’s electoral votes. The Trump campaign has requested a Georgia recount, but there’s no meaningful indication that this recount will swing the state to Trump. Biden’s lead in Georgia stands at a little over 12,000 votes.
Raffensperger bluntly characterized the post-Election Day situation as “a losing presidential campaign [refusing] to accept the facts.” There’s just no meaningful evidence for the Trump team’s claims of systematic fraud. Raffensperger added as follows:
‘By all accounts, Georgia had a wildly successful and smooth election. We finally defeated voting lines and put behind us Fulton County’s now notorious reputation for disastrous elections. This should be something for Georgians to celebrate, whether their favored presidential candidate won or lost. For those wondering, mine lost — my family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him. Elections are the bedrock of our democracy. They need to be run fairly and, perhaps more important, impartially. That’s not partisan. That’s just American. Yet some don’t seem to see it that way.’
As mentioned, Raffensperger added that “when the integrity of our political system is most at risk, the integrity of our politicians is paramount.” Integrity doesn’t exactly seem like Trump’s strong suit.
Trump isn’t the only one who’s singled out Georgia for scrutiny — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has done the same. According to Raffensperger, during a recent conversation between him and Graham, the latter “appeared to suggest that [Raffensperger] find a way to toss legally cast ballots,” as The Washington Post‘s summary explains. Graham has contested Raffensperger’s characterization of their conversation — but Graham now faces a request for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation of the matter anyway.