Trump blasts Georgia election law as 'too weak,' continuing attacks on Kemp, Raffensperger as 'RINOS'
Former President Donald Trump continued his war of words with Georgia's top Republican elected officials while arguing the state's controversial new election law doesn't go far enough.
"Georgia’s election reform law is far too weak and soft to ensure real ballot integrity," Trump said in a written statement Tuesday where he blasted Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
"Election Day is supposed to be Election Day, not Election Week or Election Month," he added. "Far too many days are given to vote."
Peach State lawmakers have made major changes to their election protocols in the wake of last year's Democratic victories and Trump's false assertions about the 2020 presidential election outcome. President Joe Biden beat Trump to win Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by about 12,000 votes in the November presidential election, and Democrats won two Jan. 5 Senate runoffs to give the party control of the upper chamber of Congress.
Georgia's new law, signed by Kemp at the end of March, is part of a national trend of Republican-sponsored proposals that supporters say are aimed at ensuring election integrity. But the changes in Georgia have ignited a fiery debate as national brands, major employers and professional sports leagues have spoken out against the new law, which critics argue is aimed at making it harder for Democratic constituencies to vote.
Among the more contested moves made by the Georgia legislature are voter ID requirements and shrinking the request period for absentee ballots, which opponents contend will disproportionately affect Black voters. The new law also prohibits people from handing out food or water within 150 feet of a polling place, or within 25 feet of any voter; gives state legislators the power to remove and replace county election officials; and curtails the secretary of state's power as chief elections officer.
Georgia Republicans had originally proposed a much stricter election bill in line with Trump's comments on Tuesday. That plan would have limited early voting, which was slammed by many Black church leaders who said it was an effort to erode their "souls to the polls" initiatives that funnel their members to vote after religious services.
Kemp and other GOP leaders in the state have fiercely defended the new law and warned companies against speaking out against it, pointing out that it expands the number of early voting days by requiring at least two Saturdays of early voting for each primary and general election.It also guarantees a minimum number of drop boxes, especially in rural areas, which weren't allowed in Georgia before the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020.
"I’m telling you the truth about this bill," Kemp said in a radio interview with NPR this month. "It expands access."
But Trump didn't spare the governor or Raffensperger, , two of his most frequent targets since he lost the 2020 presidential contest.
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For months, Trump has argued the two didn't fight hard enough to deliver Georgia for Trump in the 2020 presidential race. He has called for primary challengers to take on both in next year's statewide election, and has promised to campaign against the two.
Calling Kemp and Raffensperger "RINOS" — short for "Republicans In Name Only" — the former president said in his statement they should have fought to eliminate no-excuse mail-in voting and drop boxes while expanding signature verification.
Trump also took Kemp to task for not saying more as the law has come under withering criticism from national brands such as Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.
Last Friday, for instance, Major League Baseball announced that it was moving its July 13 All-Star Game out of Atlanta over the legislation. The game is now set to take place in Denver.
Critics of the law have now turned to pressuring a boycott of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.
"Kemp also caved to the radical left-wing woke mob who threatened to call him racist if he got rid of weekend voting," Trump said. "Well, he kept it, and they still call him racist!"