Trump to travel to Georgia on Saturday to rally for Perdue and Loeffler

Washington — President Trump will head to Georgia this weekend to rally for Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, in his first appearance on the campaign trail since he lost the presidential election last month. Although President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia and the results in the state have been certified, Mr. Trump has continued to baselessly claim that the election was somehow illegitimate.

The rally in Valdosta, Georgia, will be hosted by the Republican National Committee, not Mr. Trump’s campaign. Loeffler and Perdue are both locked in tight races for runoff elections on January 5. Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and faced off against over 21 other candidates in a special election last month, will face Democrat Raphael Warnock in January. Perdue, who was up for reelection this year, is being challenged by Democrat Jon Ossoff.

The outcome of these closely watched races will determine which party has control of the Senate. Republicans currently have a 50 to 48 majority going into the new year. If Ossoff and Warnock both win, Democrats will have a razor-thin 50-50 majority, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking any tie.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized Georgia’s election officials and Kemp, falsely insisting that he won the state. Unfounded allegations of voter fraud have been supported by Loeffler and Perdue, resulting in threats and intimidation targeting the state’s elections workers.

Gabriel Sterling, one of Georgia’s top elections officials, fiercely rebuked Mr. Trump and Georgia’s senators Tuesday and appealed to the president to accept his electoral loss in the state and “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.”

“Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We’re investigating, there’s always a possibility, I get it, you have the right to go through the courts,” Sterling said. “What you don’t have the ability to do — and you need to step up and say this — is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone is going to get killed. And it’s not right.”

Sterling, Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are all Republicans. Mr. Trump may continue to target Georgia election officials at the rally on Saturday, and promote conspiracy theories about the election.

In a change from previous rallies featuring Mr. Trump, the RNC will “instruct” attendees to wear masks. Regulations regarding facial coverings have generally been lax at Trump rallies, and there has been limited social distancing.

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