Donald Trump’s Monday night rally in Dalton, Georgia, was intended, ostensibly, to garner support for Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue ahead of the state’s Tuesday runoff election, which will determine the balance of power in the Senate.
But the rally seemed more like final opportunity for Trump to savor the pomp and circumstance of the presidency and to repeat the tired, thoroughly debunked claims of election fraud he’s been peddling since before Election Day.
After arriving on Marine One two hours after he was originally scheduled to speak, Trump launched into a roughly 80-minute rant in which he railed against “big tech” and the “fake news media”; threatened to campaign against Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp during the next gubernatorial primary; incited chants of “lock her up”—referring to Hillary Clinton—from the largely maskless crowd; and insisted, despite three separate tallies favoring Biden, that he had won the presidential election in Georgia.
“You can lose, and that’s acceptable,” Trump said, “but when you win in a landslide and they steal it and it’s rigged, it’s not acceptable.” Throughout the evening, Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed victory: “I’ve had two elections, I won both of them. I actually did much better in the second one.”
Trump deployed a litany of specific-yet-bogus numbers to bolster his false claims, just as he had during his problematic call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday. State officials should be conducting an “audit,” he insisted yet again, of election results that have been verified repeatedly.
Perdue, who is quarantining after coming into close contact with someone with the coronavirus, gave a brief virtual address. Loeffler spoke for about 90 seconds, closing with a vow to object to the Electoral College’s vote on Wednesday. The rest was pure Trump Show.