President Donald Trump has continued to question the integrity of Georgia’s elections and personally targeted its top Republican officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp.
On Monday morning, he tweeted at Kemp, calling him “hapless” and urging him to “use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State” in order to conduct a signature audit of absentee ballot envelopes.
Kemp’s communications director, Cody Hall, responded: “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.”
Hall said the governor would continue to encourage a “sample audit of signatures” in order to “restore trust and address serious issues that have been raised.”
Elections officials have repeatedly said there’s no evidence of widespread fraud and explained that a signature audit is impractical because absentee ballot signatures on envelopes have long been separated from the ballots themselves in order to protect the identity of voters.
On Sunday, Trump told Fox News that he was “ashamed” to have endorsed Kemp, who has always been seen as a Trump ally. On Thanksgiving, he called Raffensperger the “enemy of the people.”
“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,” Raffensperger said Monday.
Trump made a surprise endorsement of Kemp during the 2018 Republican primary, which many credit with Kemp’s landslide primary victory. He also endorsed Raffensperger in his 2018 election.
Trump plans to visit Georgia on Saturday to campaign for the two incumbent Republican U.S. senators in runoffs, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.