Georgian election official pleads with Trump and Republicans to ‘stop inciting acts of violence’

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“Everything has gone too far,” said Gabriel Sterling, the head of voting systems implementation for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, at a Tuesday afternoon press conference at the Georgia Capitol.

Sterling, a Republican, became visibly moved when describing an incident in which a video of a Dominion Voting Machines contractor in Gwinnett County was posted online with allegations of vote manipulation. After the video was shown, the man was charged with treason and found a noose outside his house. The man’s family members have received death threats, Sterling said.

“You have to act and say this… stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence,” Sterling said, addressing the President. “Someone is going to be hurt, someone is going to be shot, someone is going to be killed, and that’s not right. ”

“Be the bigger man here and stop – come in,” Sterling added. “Tell your supporters, don’t be violent, don’t be intimidated. All that is wrong is anti-American. ”

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told CNN on Tuesday that “the campaign is about ensuring that all legal votes are counted and not all illegal votes are counted.” No one should engage in threats or violence, and if that has happened, we fully condemn it. . ”
CNN has contacted the White House for comment.

For weeks, Trump has made a series of unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in Georgia, for which there is no evidence. Republican officials have rejected Trump’s calls to overturn the state’s election results more than a week after certifying Joe Biden as the winner. Biden won the state with more than 12,000 votes.

The Trump administration has led crusades against whistleblowers and others who spoke out in opposition during the president’s tenure and refused to embrace its conspiratorial view of the election. In particularly extreme remarks on Monday, a Trump campaign lawyer called for violence against a former cybersecurity official who had dismissed the president’s baseless allegations of widespread electoral fraud. The lawyer, Joe DiGenova, then tried to reverse his comments by presenting them as a joke.

Sterling criticized the incident on Tuesday, saying DiGenova, a former US lawyer, “knew better.”

Sterling said he was protected by police at his home and that the wife of Georgia GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had received “sexualized threats.” Threats against Raffensperger were reportedly stepped up after Trump called Raffensperger an “enemy of the people.”

The election official said he supported Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who were running in the second round of elections in Georgia in January, but added that “they must escalate this matter.”

“It’s the cornerstone of democracy, and all of you who haven’t said a damn word are complicit in it,” Sterling said.

He added: “Death threats, physical threats, intimidation. It’s too much. It is not fair. They have lost the moral ground to claim that this is the case. ”

Responding to Sterling’s remarks, Perdue campaign communications director John Burke said the senator spoke out about violence in general while arguing that there were unspecified issues with the state’s electoral methodology . There is no evidence of widespread electoral fraud in the state.

“Senator Perdue condemns violence of any kind, against anyone. Full stop, ”Burke said in a statement to CNN. “We will not apologize for addressing the obvious problems with the way our state conducts its elections. Georgians deserve to be held to account and to improve this process – and we are fighting to ensure that the January 5 elections are safe, secure, transparent and accurate. ”

Stephen Lawson, Loeffler Campaign Communications Director tweeted a similar sentiment, denouncing the violence and alleging without evidence that the state’s electoral system was somehow tainted.

“Like many public servants, as someone who has been the subject of threats, Senator Loeffler of course condemns violence of any kind. How ridiculous even to suggest otherwise, ”Lawson wrote. “We also condemn the inaction and lack of accountability in the process of our electoral system – and we will not apologize for calling it. Senator Loeffler will continue to fight to ensure that we have fair, reliable and accurate elections, because the future of our country is in stake. ”

CNN’s Caroline Kenny and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.



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