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Georgia elections official slams Trump over voter fraud claims, warns of potential violence

Georgia’s Republican voting system manager on Tuesday unloaded on President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE, accusing him of provoking violence against officials and election workers with his baseless claims of voter fraud and calling on him to accept his loss in the presidential race.

In fiery remarks at a news conference at the Georgia Capitol, Gabriel Sterling decried the threats of violence that election workers and top officials and their families have received in recent weeks from some of Trump’s supporters who have clung to the president’s claims that the Nov. 3 election was marred by widespread fraud and malfeasance. 

“Mr. President, it looks like a likely loss in the state of Georgia,” a visibly shaken Sterling said. “We’re investigating. There’s always a possibility. I get it. You have the rights to go through the court. 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 violence. Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed. It’s not right.

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“It’s time to look forward,” he continued. “If you want to run for reelection in four years, do it. But everything we’re seeing right now — there’s not a path. Be the bigger man here and stop. Step in and tell your supporters, 'Don’t be violent. Don’t intimidate.' All of that is wrong. It’s not American.”

 

Sterling’s remarks offered perhaps the most direct criticism of the president’s conduct in the weeks since the election from any Georgia Republican official to date. 

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Trump, who trails President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed Biden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: report Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again MORE by more than 6 million votes nationally and by some 12,000 votes in Georgia, has refused to acknowledge his loss and has repeatedly attacked state officials in Georgia. He has also demanded that Gov. Brian KempBrian KempGeorgia House to consider replacing Confederate statue with statue of John Lewis Republicans eye primaries in impeachment vote Trump's legacy is discord and division MORE, a Republican, use nonexistent emergency powers to “overrule” the state’s election results.

A recount requested last week by the Trump campaign is expected to be completed on Wednesday, though it is unlikely to change the outcome of the election in Georgia.

Sterling, who is in charge of implementing Georgia’s voting system, said the president’s rhetoric has inspired his supporters to turn their wrath not only on high-ranking state officials but on low-level election workers as well. 

He pointed to an employee of a voting systems company in his 20s who has been harassed recently, calling the threats “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

“His family is getting harassed now,” Sterling said. “There’s a noose out there with his name on it.

“This kid took a job,” he continued. “He just took a job.”

Sterling also condemned threats against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and his family. 

“My boss, Secretary Raffensperger, his address is out there,” Sterling said. “They’ve had people doing caravans in front of their house. They’ve had people come onto their property. Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualized threats through her cellphone. It has to stop.”

While Sterling called out Trump by name, he denounced others who have remained silent about the post-election conduct of the president and his supporters.

“This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy. And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this,” he said. “It’s too much. Yes, fight for every legal vote. Go through your due process. We encourage you. Use your First Amendment. That’s fine.”

“Death threats, physical threats, intimidation — it’s too much. It’s not right. They’ve lost the moral high ground to claim that it is,” he added.