U.S. President Donald Trump and other Republican elected officials appeared for a rally hosted by the party’s National Convention in the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 5 in Valdosta, Georgia. Thousands of supporters turned out for the rally.
The president, accompanied at the event by senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, as well as first lady Melania Trump, spoke for about one and a half hours. He encouraged Georgians to vote in the critical Senate race, and reiterated “overwhelming” allegations that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from America’s voting.
“If I lost, I’d be a very gracious loser,” Trump told his audience, gathered at Valdosta Regional Airport. “But you can’t ever accept when they steal and rig and rob.”
The event was held to support the senators, who are fighting to keep their seats against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, a filmmaker and pastor, respectively. The runoff race is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2021.
Georgia’s Senate race will have nationwide implications, as the Republicans’ victory or defeat will determine whether the Republicans can maintain their legislative advantage.
“We’re here to ensure that David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler win the most important congressional runoff in congressional history,” Trump said, before saying that their rivals were two of the “most extreme far-left liberal Senate candidates in the history of our country.”
Some Republicans, worried about the possibility of significant voter fraud in the Senate race, have called for voters to boycott the election. However, Trump encouraged Republicans to cast their ballots.
“You must go vote, and vote early starting Dec. 14,” Trump told the crowd. “They cheated and they rigged our presidential election, but we will still win it.”
Trump taking on fraud allegations
Trump spoke at length about ongoing and mounting claims of electoral fraud in the Nov. 3 general election, describing the evidence as “irrefutable.” According to the president, multiple lawsuits filed by his legal team are headed to the Supreme Court.
One detail Trump called into question was the suspiciously low rate of rejected mail-in ballots in Georgia, compared with previous years.
“For mail-in ballots—drastically less than the historic norm—in Georgia, 0.5 percent of the mail-in ballots were rejected in 2020 compared to 5.77 percent [in 2016],” he said. “That’s a difference of 11 times more.
Trump also called into question the election results based on the “Red wave” that saw Republican candidates pull ahead in multiple legislative races, including formerly Democratic areas of California, a major Democrat bastion. “Think of it … normally, you lose 2, 3, 5, and you replay. We lost nobody,” Trump said.
Georgia, a swing state with 18 electoral votes, could be instrumental in determining the outcome of the presidential election. Democratic contender Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris currently lead with about 12,500 more votes than Trump, following two statewide recounts that Republicans say failed to address the main controversies of the race.
In late November, witnesses testified under oath that they observed multiple forms of potential voter fraud, such as impossibly pristine mail-in ballots. On Dec. 3, security footage from Fulton County’s State Farm Arena polling station appeared to show four election workers pulling boxes of ballots out from concealed areas and continuing to count votes late past midnight on Election Day — after all election monitors had left the premises.
Trump said that the electoral race in Georgia, and that in the whole country, was a decision between freedom and communism:
“The voters of Georgia will determine which party runs every committee, writes every piece of legislation, control every single taxpayer dollar. Very simply, you will decide whether your children grow up in a socialist country or whether they will grow up in a free country,” the president said. “And I will tell you this, socialist is just the beginning for these people. These people want to go further than socialism, they want to go into a communistic form of government, and I have no doubt about it.”
“Let me tell you, this election was rigged … We can’t let it happen again,” he told the crowd to chants of “Stop the steal.”