Instead, President Trump released Wednesday a 46-minute video packed with the same familiar falsehoods about a “rigged” election.
Mr. Sterling is one of the thousands of honest Republican election officials and poll workers whom Mr. Trump and his acolytes have thrown under the bus. Mr. Trump refuses to acknowledge that he lost a free and fair election, and anyone who has declined to assist him in his anti-democratic con has become an enemy. Mr. Trump has singled out some, such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), for abuse on Twitter. But, as Mr. Sterling detailed Tuesday, anyone making a good-faith effort to count votes or defend the process is subject to attacks from the people Mr. Trump has riled up with lies about fraud and election-rigging. Attorney General William P. Barr, among the president’s most loyal soldiers, admitted Tuesday that Justice Department investigators have found no widespread fraud that could have affected the outcome of the presidential election; Trump followers quickly turned on him, too.
“This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy,” Mr. Sterling exclaimed. “And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.”
The Trump campaign and Georgia’s two GOP senators, who have both aided the president’s baseless attacks on the state’s election officials, offered lip-service condemnations of violence and then immediately returned to stoking the unfounded anger that is driving the threats. “We also condemn inaction and lack of accountability in our election system process — and won’t apologize for calling it out,” said Sen. Kelly Loeffler. “We won’t apologize for addressing the obvious issues with the way our state conducts its elections,” said a spokeswoman for Sen. David Perdue. No one, including Ms. Loeffler or Mr. Perdue, has provided any real evidence of “obvious issues” with the electoral process. The only obvious issue is Mr. Trump’s, Ms. Loeffler’s, Mr. Perdue’s — and much of their party’s — contempt for the people’s will.
Avoiding embarrassment and undercutting President-elect Joe Biden appear to be only part of the motive. Another factor is money. The New York Times reported on Monday that Mr. Trump has raised $170 million since Election Day, the kind of cash candidates draw at the peak of the campaign season. Email after email has asked the Trump faithful to donate to an “Election Defense Fund,” but 75 percent of the money goes to the president’s political action committee, which will finance Mr. Trump’s post-presidency political activity. “A donor has to give $5,000 to Mr. Trump’s new PAC before any funds go to his recount account,” the Times reported.
Money and political advantage: Those are the paltry rewards Republicans seek for disparaging the honorable members of their own party and trashing the nation’s democracy.