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GOP senator: Trump rhetoric on election fraud 'certainly not helpful' in Georgia

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Biden's unity effort falters Capito asks White House to allow toxic chemicals rule to proceed MORE (R-W.Va.), an adviser to the Senate GOP leadership, said Wednesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE’s rhetoric about election fraud was “certainly not helpful” to the two Republican incumbents who appeared to lose runoff races in Georgia.

Capito called the results of the runoff races “a disappointment” for her two GOP colleagues, David PerdueDavid PerduePlease, President Trump: Drop your quest for revenge and help the GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Georgia's GOP-led Senate passes bill requiring ID for absentee voting MORE (Ga.) and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerKelly Loeffler's WNBA team sold after players' criticism Please, President Trump: Drop your quest for revenge and help the GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan MORE (Ga.), and for the Republican Party.

Asked what impact Trump’s rhetoric about election fraud may have had on the race, Capito said the president’s comments were “certainly not helpful.”

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Trump on Friday declared the two Senate races in Georgia “illegal and invalid” because of what he has insisted without evidence is widespread voter fraud.

“The Georgia Consent Decree is Unconstitutional & the State 2020 Presidential Election is therefore both illegal and invalid, and that would include the two current Senatorial Elections,” he tweeted.

Trump’s claims of a rigged election in Georgia sparked concerns that it would depress voter turnout in the state, prompting Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager in Georgia, to hold a press conference Monday rebutting the president’s claims and urging people to vote.

Trump, however, held a rally for Perdue and Loeffler in Dalton, Ga., where he urged supporters to “flood your polling places with a historic tidal wave of Republican voters.”

But he also railed against Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian KempBrian KempGeorgia teachers to be next in line in state for coronavirus vaccine The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Lawmakers commemorate one-year anniversary of Arbery's killing MORE and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for not doing more to back up his claims of fraud.

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“They say they’re Republicans,” Trump said of the state officials. “I really don’t think they are. They can’t be.”

Trump also promised to campaign against Kemp when he’s up for reelection in 2022.

Capito weighed in after Democrat Raphael Warnock was projected to win his runoff against Loeffler. Democrat Jon Ossoff declared victory after leading in the other Senate race, though that runoff has not been called.