Ivanka Trump campaigns in Georgia, but makes no mention of her father's election fraud claims
MILTON, Ga. - At a whistle-stop rally Monday for Georgia Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, creeping radicalism and socialism were mentioned. There was talk of American values like faith and family. There was talk of economic recovery, small business support and freedom from government regulations.
But on a day when President Trump mocked Georgian officials and declared on Twitter that "we will easily win the presidential race," no speaker at the rally - not even his daughter Ivanka, the headliner and marquee attraction - spoke of election fraud . No one disputed Georgia's certified results, which President-elect Joe Biden won by 12,000 votes, or the votes of the electoral college. No one accused the election of stealing, and no one suggested that Trump would still be in office after January 20 next year.
Instead, Monday's event, held in an upscale mixed-use settlement in the northern Atlanta suburbs, focused on getting the vote to use the Senate's "firewall" - Loeffler's tenure - as a control against the (unspecified) Maintain in-depth management. The Georgia runoff will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate and Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both have to win to earn a chamber tie. If so, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could break a tie in her party's favor, which explains why Republicans were so nervous that this state will turn blue in the 2020 president's race.
"Are you ready to show America is a red state?" Called Loeffler. "Tell me: hold the line. Stay tuned."
Many of the hundreds of attendees sang along, though that was a tacit admission that Trump had lost and that Vice President Mike Pence would not be able to break voices breaking the voices on Jan. 20. Less than half of the people themselves wore masks to help lessen the spread of COVID-19, and yet they huddled shoulder to shoulder in an alcove behind the Old Blind Dog Irish Pub, their cell phones held up.
The rally was the first planned for Ivanka Trump as a two-event stop. It happened to cross the route of Harris, who was also in the state to rally support for the Democratic opposition. But Trump's second event in rural Walton County had to be postponed as Loeffler and Perdue had to return to Washington to vote on the stimulus package.
Ivanka Trump will fight for Georgian Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue on Monday. (Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images)
"I spoke to my father on the way here," remarked Ivanka Trump in her opening speeches, and the mere reference to Trump sparked a wave of cheers. "He asked me to tell you that he loves Georgia and will never stop fighting for you."
Ivanka's appearance was an attempt to thread a moving needle. "Getting Ivanka is an effort to bring back the hardcore Trump voters and also get the Never Trump Republicans to vote," Georgian political strategist Fred Hicks told Yahoo News. "This is as close as a confirmation that Trump's loss was due to his personality as we are likely to see."
Trump cast a shadow over the entire process, figuratively and - in the case of a giant flag pulled from behind a pickup truck while the speakers were on the stage - literally. However, the senators in particular had to walk a tight line and acknowledge their connection with the president without approving his more extreme views on the status of the Georgia elections.
To do this, they cited the names of democratic personalities such as Senator Chuck Schumer, MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Georgian organizer Stacey Abrams. The speakers also raised the specter of what would happen if both Loeffler and Perdue lost.
"If we don't vote, we don't just lose," said Loeffler. "We're going to lose the country."
Loeffler skillfully stepped out of a "Stop the Steal!" Singing, erupting as she finished her short speech, replied, "We will keep fighting," but did not add any details. Shortly thereafter, in an appeal to an older class of Conservatives, Perdue cited the famous saying of former President Ronald Reagan: "Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction."
Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp was also not mentioned at the rally. He was a frequent Trump target in complying with state electoral law rather than complying with calls for a major improvement in results.
By bringing in Ivanka Trump, Loeffler and Perdue's campaigns can bring some daylight between them and the president's extreme and previously unproven claims of fraud - claims that could result in Trump's base turning its back on the election.
"The problem in Georgia is that the president and his people, Rudy [Giuliani] and people like that, have made Republicans so doubtful about the electoral process that it could be enough that these numbers could be problematic in a close race." Republican strategist Amy Koch told Yahoo News, "If a lot of Trump people don't vote or say," Loeffler and Perdue, what have you done for us? "This could be a real problem."
Ivanka Trump, right, with Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue on Monday in Milton, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images)
Participants in the Milton rally expressed the same mix of concern and determination about the election results, questioning the details of the presidential election and expressing their determination to cast their ballots in the runoff.
"I don't see anyone having the balls to try anything in this election," said Doug Wright of Milton. "Everything will be under such a microscope. The whole country will literally be watching."
All four Senate campaigns are aimed at the approximately 100,000 voters who cast ballots for Biden but not for Ossoff, as well as the eight democratic challengers in the special elections, including Loeffler. While it's not uncommon for a president to outperform his own party's congressional candidates, the campaigns need to find out why those voters voted for Biden and not his Democrats. Some skipped the Senate line entirely; others actually voted against Trump, but for Republicans further down the vote.
So the challenge for Republicans is to get those same voters to run for the January 5 runoff if there isn't a controversial number on the ticket.
"Ivanka is a better way of doing this than [Vice President] pence," said Hicks. "She is a trump card, but over four years she has managed to create a low but effective profile. Unlike her brothers, she is not seen as polarizing."
"With your vote and your voice, Georgia will save America," concluded Ivanka Trump. "Georgia will be the first in a wave of resounding Republican victories."
With that the rally was over. Candidates returned to the stage exchanging punches with Ivanka Trump as Toby Keith's hymn boomed through the speakers after 9/11, "Courtesy of Red, White and Blue".
The energetic attendees picked up the courtyard signs as they set out on a bright Georgia afternoon. The question for Republicans is whether they have enough energy to vote in the next two weeks.
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