President Trump on Wednesday called for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to resign, escalating his criticism of a fellow Republican who has refused to intervene in the state’s presidential election or embrace Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud.
“Also won the other Swing States,” Trump claimed, continuing a series of false claims he has made since President-elect Joe Biden was projected as the winner nationally.
Trump’s latest criticism of Kemp came in a tweet that urged his supporters to watch a broadcast of a Senate hearing in Atlanta on purported election irregularities.
Speaking to reporters in Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon, Kemp dismissed questions about the president’s tweets as a “distraction.”
“I mean, I’ve supported the president,” he said. “I’ve said that many times. I worked as hard as anybody in the state on his reelection up through November the 3rd. I’ve supported the legal process that him or any other campaign can go through in this state. But at the end of the day, I also have to follow the laws in the Constitution.”
In fact, no credible evidence of widespread fraud has emerged in Georgia or other states since the Nov. 3 election. Biden’s narrow victory has withstood multiple recounts, court challenges and other examinations of the voting process, including some spurred by Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraudulent mail-in ballots.
On Tuesday, the Georgia secretary of state’s office announced the results of a signature audit conducted of mail-in ballots from the election cast in Cobb County.
Working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the secretary of state’s office said it reviewed signatures on 15,118 ballot envelopes, finding none were fraudulent and that all but two included signatures that matched that of the voter on file — demonstrating that election officials who examined the signatures before the vote had a 99.99 percent accuracy rate.
Biden defeated Trump in Georgia by about 12,000 votes, claiming the state’s 16 electoral votes. Biden was the first Democratic White House aspirant to win the state since 1992.
Trump’s call for Kemp to resign comes amid the closing days of a pair of Senate runoff elections in the state that will determine control of the chamber in Washington next year.
Kemp told reporters that his focus now is on those races, in which two incumbent Republicans face Democratic challengers.
“I don’t want to wake up on January the 6th and wonder what else I should have done,” Kemp said.
Kemp declined to say whether he would appear at a rally Trump plans to stage Monday on behalf of the two Republicans, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
“I haven’t been invited to the rally yet,” Kemp said. “I don’t really have a whole lot of details on that.”
Kemp has come under heavy criticism from Trump, including in tweets late Tuesday night.
“I love the Great State of Georgia, but the people who run it, from the Governor, @BrianKempGA, to the Secretary of State, are a complete disaster and don’t have a clue, or worse,” Trump wrote. “Nobody can be this stupid.”
Trump’s tweets included a reference to a conspiracy theory involving someone who shares the last name of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) but is not related to him.
“Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China, and they definitely don’t want ‘Trump’. So disgusting!” Trump wrote.
Trump took aim at both Kemp and Raffensperger again on Wednesday, as well as the state’s Republican lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan, whom he called Kemp’s “puppet.”
The three officials, Trump asserted “are virtually controlled by” Stacey Abrams, the unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia in 2018 who has focused on registering voters for her party since then.
“Fools!” Trump said.
Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.