Georgia’s Republican lieutenant governor on Tuesday joined a growing list of GOP officials in the state who are publicly rejecting President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, saying the misinformation spread by the President and his allies is “alarming” and could jeopardize the party in upcoming Senate runoff elections.
Asked by CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” about a falsehood spread by Trump that election officials in Georgia were “making deals,” Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan flatly replied, “certainly not.”
“What is alarming is the amount of misinformation that continues to flow. It’s alarming to me,” Duncan continued. “It’s certainly disheartening to watch folks willing to kind of put their character and their morals out there just so they can spread a half truth or a lie in the efforts to maybe to flip an election. … That’s not what democracy is all about.”
Duncan, along with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, are among the highest-ranking Republican officials who are disputing Trump’s claims of voter fraud despite the President’s continuing grip on much of the party. The comments by Georgia officials are particularly notable, as the January runoff election could determine the balance of power in the US Senate.
Duncan also urged the President and Republicans to “redirect their post-election approach,” warning of the challenges of not doing so.
“I think short term we run the risk of alienating voters for our Senate race that is coming upon us for Sen. Loeffler and Sen. Perdue. And we need them,” he said. “And long term, I think we hurt the brand of our Republican Party, which is certainly bigger than one person long term … As Americans we need to see leaders that inspire us and not talk down.”
Duncan also indicated he will not join Trump and Vice President Mike Pence when they visit Georgia this weekend to campaign for Loeffler and Perdue, telling Camerota, “I’ve got a full day on Saturday.”
“I’m not even sure of the President’s travel descriptions. But I wish him the best of luck down here and certainly hope he’s able to get voters to turn out for Sen. Loeffler and Sen. Perdue,” said Duncan, adding that he was not sure if Kemp would attend.
Most Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have remained silent about Trump’s voter fraud claims, although an increasing number have spoken out in recent days as states begin certifying election results. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, strongly defended the state’s election process on Monday after Trump criticized him for certifying President-elect Joe Biden as the winner.
Two White House advisers have told CNN’s Jim Acosta that Trump understands he has no chance of hanging on to the presidency but that he will continue to pursue legal challenges until they are exhausted. Trump has not conceded the election and he still falsely claims that he won, but his administration has approved access to transition materials and national security briefings for Biden and his team.