News Analysis Nov 27, 2020 1:59 PM EST

Trump to head to Georgia to back GOP senators in run-off races

President Trump is planning to take a trip to Georgia to back the two incumbent senators as they fight to keep their seats, and the GOP fights to keep control of the Senate.

Trump to head to Georgia to back GOP senators in run-off races
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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President Trump is planning to take a trip to Georgia to back the two incumbent, GOP senators as they fight to keep their seats, and the GOP fights to keep control of the Senate.

Speaking from the White House on Thursday, he said he expects to head down to the Peach State on Saturday. Sen. Kelly Loeffler said that she was glad that Trump had her back, and that she in turn backed the President. Loeffler is running against the controversial Raphael Warnock.

"I'll be going there on Saturday night," Trump said, "and maybe I'll go twice. It's very important that we win those races. These are two great people [Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue]. I know them both very well, they're both great people… I beat the one gentleman, he ran against a congressional candidate who was an excellent person, frankly, and he didn't even live in the right community."

"He lost as a congressman," Trump continued, referring to Jon Ossoff. "He ran against Karen, and now he's running against David. He doesn't deserve to be there, he's a lightweight. And the other one is either a communist or a socialist, I can't figure that one out yet."

"This is not for Georgia," Trump said.

A speech Warnock made in 2018 came to light during this election season, in which he spoke derisively about the moving of the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

"It's been a tough week," Warnock said in 2018. "The administration opened up the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Standing there [were] the president's family and a few mealy-mouthed evangelical preachers who are responsible for the mess that we found ourselves in, both there and here — misquoting and misinterpreting the Scripture, talking about peace."

Warnock's remarks were defended by Jon Ossoff, who is running to unseat Sen. David Perdue. Ossoff said "Reverend Warnock is a beloved friend and ally of Georgia’s Jewish community and a friend of Israel. Kelly Loeffler’s baseless attacks on the reverend make me sick."

But Loeffler also brought up a letter, that Warnock signed in 2019, which likened Israel's actions in the West Bank to "previous oppressive regimes," going so far as to claim it was similar to the "military occupation of Namibia under apartheid South Africa."

Loeffler tweeted: "@ReverendWarnock has a long history of anti-Israel extremism. He defended Jeremiah Wright's anti-Semitic comments. He embraced the anti-Zionist BLM organization. And he thinks Israel is an 'oppressive regime' for fighting back against terrorism."

BLM is fundraising for both Ossoff and Warnock, with a goal of raising $500,000 to help them unseat Loeffler and Perdue and turn the Senate blue.

Republicans hold 50 seats in the Senate, while Democrats have 48. If Georgia's seats are won by Warnock and Ossoff, the Senate becomes evenly split, and the incoming Vice President, Kamala Harris, will have the tie-breaking vote. This would give complete control of both the federal executive and legislative branches of government to the Democrats.

Georgia had a tight presidential race, and the state went for Joe Biden, a Democrat, only after a long battle with recounts and allegations of fraudulent ballots. For many, those issues are still unresolved, though the state's 16 electoral votes have been certified for the Democrat.

BLM's PAC said in their email asking for financial support that "We know how important this election is going to be in determining what decisions will be made in the Senate for the next few years—decisions that will impact us directly, like access to quality and affordable health care, reforming the criminal justice system, all the way to major electoral reform like passing the BREATHE Act."

The run-off is slated for January 5. It is unusual to have both Senate seats up for reelection in the same year. But Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp after the resignation of Sen. Johnny Isakson from his post in Dec. 2019, a seat which she held until the special election this November. The winner of the race between Loeffler and Warnock will serve Georgia until the end of Isakson's term, Jan. 2023.

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