Trump, Biden hold duel meetings in Georgia before decisive US Senate runoff

Elected President Joe Biden and outgoing President Donald Trump held duel meetings in Georgia on Monday to persuade supporters to face the upcoming US Senate election on Tuesday, which will determine the balance of power in Washington.

Georgia’s contests place a pair of sitting Republicans, Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Biden wants both Democrats to win so that his party will control both houses of Congress when he takes office on January 20. Trump’s team wants Republicans to win so that his party, with Senate control, can block or limit Biden’s legislative agenda.

Trump, a Republican who lost the November presidential election to his Democratic counterpart, has not admitted Biden, and he spent part of his rallies in Dalton, a city in Georgia’s heavily Republican northwest, suggesting he would try to hold on to power.

“They are not taking this white house. We will fight like hell,” Trump said to cheers from the crowd, who chanted “Fight for Trump!”

Biden criticized the outgoing administration for its handling of the pandemic and promised a fresh start for the country with democratic control. More than 350,000 people have died from coronavirus in the United States and are spreading rapidly in most states.

“It’s a new year, and tomorrow could be a new day for Atlanta, Georgia and America,” Biden said.

He said the Trump administration had “got off to a terrible start” with the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. “The president spends more time whining and complaining than doing anything about the problem,” he said.

Democratic candidates, if elected, would ensure that $ 2,000 stimulus checks were delivered to Americans as the economy struggles during the coronavirus pandemic, Biden said.

The outgoing president also put pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, who will get the result of the State Electoral College in Congress on Wednesday, to take action in his favor. Biden beat Trump 306-232 in voting rights and conducted the popular vote with more than 7 million votes.

“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us,” Trump said, referring to the vice president as a great guy. “If he does not come through, I will not like him as much,” Trump said.

Historical shift in Georgia

Georgia has long been a solid Republican state and surprised the nation in November by electing Biden, the first time it had supported a Democratic presidential candidate in nearly three decades.

It has raised the hopes of the Liberals for Warnock and Ossoff, even though they are facing a tough battle in the still deeply conservative state. About 3 million have already voted.

A victory by the two Democrats would hand over the Senate to Biden’s party, as elected Vice President Kamala Harris would hold the hard-fought vote in House 50-50. This would make it easier for Biden to adopt further coronavirus relief and address climate change, as Democrats also control the House of Representatives.

None of the Senate candidates won a majority in the November 3 election, which stimulated the run-off election.

Trump has continued to claim, without proof, that his loss in November was the result of widespread electoral fraud – a claim rejected by reviews of state and federal election officials, several courts and the US Department of Justice.

In a recorded conversation with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday, Trump pressured the Republican official to “find” enough votes to undo his defeat, and suggested that Raffensperger’s failure to change the November results could hurt Republicans’ turnout in the Senate runoff.

Democrats and election experts say Trump’s efforts almost certainly broke the law.

Biden, who won Georgia by almost 12,000 votes, did not mention the call directly in his comments on Monday.

Loeffler, the senator who is running in Georgia, said Monday night that she would oppose the certification of election results in Congress on Wednesday and join a dozen other Republican senators and over 100 Republican House members. The move has virtually no chance of overthrowing Biden’s victory.

It is not clear whether Trump’s actions and his repeated allegations of electoral fraud will affect the outcome of the Senate race. Strategists from both parties say the result could likely depend on how many Republican voters turn out on Tuesday, given strong democratic turnout.

Senate campaigns have erased spending records and encouraged unprecedented turnout, as political groups have flooded the state with a tsunami of advertising.

(REUTERS)