PERRY, GA – Republican senators followed a cautious line in central Georgia on Thursday, seeking to rally their base for the January second round without acknowledging the fact that President Trump lost his re-election bid.
The event, a joint gathering with the two state senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, and Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, framed the run-off election as the Republicans’ last line of defense against a House Blanche and a unified Democratic Congress. However, Republicans have carefully avoided any mention of Mr. Trump, who has yet to concede the race and has peddled baseless conspiracy theories about the national electorate and election administration in Georgia.
After the rally, Mr. Cotton was asked if he implicitly acknowledges that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the election. He turned away and said Georgia was “in the middle of a recount right now and we’ll see what happens.”
He added, “But we have to be prepared for this. We have to be ready for Joe Biden’s victory. “
Mr. Perdue defined the battle for control of the Senate as an existential battle for the country.
“God has put us in this position to tell the world what America will be like for the next 50 to 100 years.”
The rally took place at a time of extraordinary political turmoil in Georgia and across the country. The state, which voted for a Democrat for the first time since 1992, has been criticized by Republicans and Mr. Trump for its election administration, although no evidence of voter fraud has emerged.
Mr Perdue and Ms Loeffler have called for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican. Mr Raffensperger hit back in several interviews, saying politicians are eroding trust in democracy for political ends.
The divisions were reflected among rally participants at Thursday’s event, which took place at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Mr. Perdue’s home county. In interviews leading up to the event, which was also an opportunity for Mr Cotton to present himself as a possible presidential candidate in a battlefield state, residents were united in their disgust for Mr Raffensperger.
U.S. election officials deemed this month’s election the safest in U.S. history and there was no credible evidence of fraud. Despite this, several attendees at the Georgia rally said they did not trust the results and supported Mr. Trump’s refusal to give in.