The unsubstantiated statements of the president have satisfied some in the party but frightened others, which does not bode well for the outcome of the runoff.
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In the final days of his presidency, Donald Trump has created new fissures in the Republican Party at a moment when the GOP must unite if it is to win two races in Georgia that will determine the Senate’s power. Lincoln has been dumped by Trump’s Republicans – now the Confederacy | Lloyd GreenRead moreTo the dismay of some high-profile Republicans, Trump has continued to make wild promises of winning the 2020 election – which he lost to Joe Biden – and to foster rumors of conspiracy among his ardent supporters. But Trump’s decision gained the support of a large portion of the elected leaders of his party, contributing to the kind of open discord that never materialized substantially during his four years in office. “This is a time when the party should be uniting around opposition to Biden’s agenda,” Republican strategist Alex Conant said. Instead, in ways that really weaken their political side, Trump tries to divide Republicans.
Republicans wanted Trump to concentrate on a message that would reinforce Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are running for Georgia Senate re-election.
Instead, Trump’s contacts with Georgia Republicans and voters have centered on his claims and unsubstantiated allegations of fraud. The president stepped up on Saturday in an hour-long call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top election official and a Republican himself. Although the election for him, the president encouraged Raffensperger to find more votes
This is what I want to do.
Everything I want to do is find 11,780 votes, one more than we have.
The call was captured by officials in the office of Raffensperger and first published by The Washington Post. Raffensperger resisted stoking the anger of the president and the rift between top party members who go to all kinds of lengths to try to retain the president in the White House, and those who think such attempts would do more harm than good. Voter turnout is already strong and a razor-thin win is expected by Republican and Democratic officials in the state. In November, Biden won the state, ending years of Republican dominance in crucial elections. The victory has fuelled expectations among Democrats that both Senate elections can be won and the Senate can therefore be managed. Regardless of the result in Georgia, the desperate efforts of Trump have split Republicans in Congress: about a dozen senators and a large number of Republicans in the House are preparing to fight to confirm Biden’s victory in Congress this week. It’s predicted the that initiative would fail.
Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Wyoming House Republican Conference President Liz Cheney, South Dakota Senator John Thune and others have argued that this push is doomed to fail and would cause lasting harm. Cheney wrote in a 20-page memo detailing her opposition to anti-certification, “This is in direct contradiction to the clear text of the Constitution and our core beliefs as Republicans,” Trump has lashed out at those Republicans who condemn the attempt to save him. He also went so far as to call for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to run a primary campaign in 2022 against Thune, the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate. Interestingly, two of the senators leading the charge are potential presidential candidates for 2024: Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. Revealed: After meeting with finance officials, David Perdue purchased bank stock. In the battle against certification, the advantage for these two senators is that it might engineer goodwill within the pro-Trump base of the party. As they try to shift the party on from Trump without seeming to support him or the idea that he could run again himself, that could be quite useful. These senators who have entered the Cruz campaign are obviously motivated by a combination of 2024 and 2022 primary ambitions.