Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, on Monday rebuffed President Donald Trump’s calls to overturn the state’s election results more than a week after they certified Joe Biden as the winner.
The statements by the two officials amount to an unusual public rejection of Trump, who continues to exert immense influence in the party and whose shadow hangs over January’s runoff election, in which two Trump-allied GOP senators are hoping to retain their seats.
For weeks, Trump has made a series of unfounded claims of fraud in the state, for which there is no evidence. Biden won the state with more than 12,000 votes, and both Kemp and Raffensperger have pledged they will abide by the law.
“Georgia law prohibits the Governor from interfering in elections. The Secretary of State, who is an elected constitutional officer, has oversight over elections that cannot be overridden by executive order,” Cody Hall, the communications director for Kemp, said in a statement. “As the Governor has said repeatedly, he will continue to follow the law and encourage the Secretary of State to take reasonable steps — including a sample audit of signatures — to restore trust and address serious issues that have been raised.”
Election officials, however, have said it is physically impossible to do an “audit of signatures” from mail-in ballots. Trump and Kemp have previously demanded an “audit of signatures” from mail-in ballots, but election officials have repeatedly said it is literally impossible at this stage in the process. Election officials already verified voters’ signatures twice, and then the ballots were permanently separated from the envelopes.
Also on Monday, Raffensperger insisted during a press conference that “the truth matters” and pushed back against the “massive” spigot of election disinformation being spread by Trump and Republican allies.
“There are those who are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation, and frankly, they are misleading the President as well, apparently,” he said.
He also said that a post-election audit, along with the ongoing recount, prove that the election was fair.
“Once this recount is complete, everyone in Georgia will be able to have even more confidence in the results of our elections,” he said, adding that the recount is on track to finish by a Wednesday night deadline.
The secretary of state said his office will continue to investigate any credible claims of illegal voting and any violations of state election law. According to Raffensperger, there are currently more than 250 open cases of election irregularities still being investigated from 2020. Nearly 5 million votes were cast statewide.
The President has repeatedly criticized both men. He called Kemp “hapless” on Monday and urged the governor to use his emergency powers to “overrule” Raffensperger, a day after he said on Fox News he was “ashamed” he endorsed the governor. The President has also called Raffensperger an “enemy of the people” last week.
Trump has announced he will travel to the Peach State this week to campaign for Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who face two Senate runoff elections in January that will determine which party controls the chamber. The two senators have called for Raffensperger to resign, claiming wrongdoing but without providing any specific evidence to back up their claims.