Campaigning in Georgia, Kamala Harris calls Trump's call with Raffensperger a 'bold abuse of power'

Jay Busbee
·3-min read

Calling Donald Trump a “voice of desperation,” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris used a Sunday campaign rally for two Georgia Democrats seeking to shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate to deliver a sharp critique of the president’s attempts to overturn the election results in the state.

Harris took the stage in Savannah just hours after news broke that Trump had spent an hour on Saturday trying to entice Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” and declare him the winner in the Peach State.

“Have you all heard about that recorded conversation?” Harris asked her audience. “It was certainly the voice of desperation, most certainly that. And it was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States.”

Campaigning on behalf of Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, both of whom spoke before Harris took to the microphone, the vice president-elect exhorted voters in southeast Georgia to turn out for Tuesday’s runoff elections. Locked in tight races against Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, if both Democrats were to win on Tuesday, Harris would be in the position to cast the tiebreaking vote in an evenly divided Senate.

The bombshell recording of Trump’s call to Raffensperger has the potential to weigh on Tuesday’s results, and Harris made sure to criticize Trump and others who have suggested that Georgia’s election was somehow tainted.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA - JANUARY 03: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during a drive-in rally at Garden City Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Savannah, Georgia. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris joined Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff for a campaign event two days before the January 5th runoff election that has implications into which party controls the U.S. Senate. According to AJC, 3 million people have already casted their votes ahead of Tuesday's election.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at a rally on Sunday in Savannah, Ga. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

“They have the gall to suggest you didn’t know what you were doing,” Harris told the crowd, “that you must have gone about [delivering Georgia to President-elect Joe Biden] in a way that was illegitimate. And they filed six lawsuits … and they failed every time.”

Biden won Georgia by 12,000 votes, and three separate recounts overseen by the Republican state leadership have affirmed that victory.

Warnock, who was born in Savannah, spoke of his history and his familiarity with the region. Ossoff largely stuck to his stump speech and his frequently used critiques of Perdue and Loeffler, but he did make time to address Trump’s phone call as well.

“When the president of the United States calls Georgia officials and tries to intimidate them to change the results of an election,” he said, “that is a direct attack on our democracy. And if Loeffler and Perdue had one piece of steel in their spines, one shred of integrity, they would be out here defending Georgia voters from that kind of assault.”

FiveThirtyEight’s averaging of polls indicates Ossoff has a lead of 1.8 percentage points, and Warnock has a lead of 2.2 percentage points.

Harris is the first of an elite array of political figures slated to descend on Georgia in the final days of the campaign. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak Monday at noon in central Georgia, followed by Trump on Monday evening in northwest Georgia. Biden, meanwhile, will be campaigning in Atlanta on Monday afternoon.

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