Watch Live: Trump to appear in Georgia in first campaign rally since losing election

President Trump is appearing at a rally for Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in an attempt to boost the candidates ahead of their runoff elections on January 5 — his first campaign event since he lost the presidential election last month. Mr. Trump has refused to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, instead peddling falsehoods about voter fraud and baselessly claiming the election was rigged.

Mr. Trump and his political allies will have to walk a tightrope, convincing his supporters that the November election was rigged while still encouraging them to turn out to vote for Loeffler and Perdue. If Loeffler and Perdue both lose, that would give Democrats a razor-thin Senate majority of 50 to 50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking any tie. This presents a difficult scenario for Republicans who wish to impart that the runoff election is critical critical for blocking Democratic control of both the legislative and executive branches and hindering the implementation of Mr. Biden’s priorities, while also not acknowledging that it is so important because of Mr. Trump’s loss.

How to watch President Trump at the Georgia campaign rally 

  • What: President Trump appears at a rally for Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue
  • Date: Saturday, December 5, 2020
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: Valdosta, Georgia
  • Online stream: Watch live on CBSN in the player above and on your mobile streaming device

The rally will be held in Valdosta, Georgia, in a county that voted for Mr. Trump by more than 10 percentage points. But Mr. Biden narrowly won the state of Georgia, raising alarm bells for Republicans who fear that Democrats will turn out for their Senate candidates in similar numbers in January. Even though Georgia has certified its election results, Mr. Trump has refused to accept them.

The Trump campaign has filed a new lawsuit in Georgia seeking to invalidate the state’s election results, although the vast majority of the lawsuits brought by the campaign seeking to challenging the election in several states have failed. A lawsuit in Nevada, similar to the one just filed in Georgia, was dismissed “with prejudice” by a judge on Friday, who wrote in his ruling that the evidence they offered had “little to no value” and did not prove “under any standard of proof” the allegations of fraud and vote irregularities.

Despite Mr. Trump’s explicit attempts to undermine faith in the election, most Republicans are supporting his false claims. An analysis by the Washington Post published on Saturday found that only 26 of the 249 Republicans in Congress have acknowledged Biden’s victory.

The rally in Georgia is hosted by the Republican National Committee and not the Trump campaign. The RNC has also publicly backed Mr. Trump’s false claims about the election.

However, some statewide Republican officials have spoken out against Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept reality.

“Our investigators have seen no widespread fraud,” Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference this week. “It looks like Vice President Biden will be carrying Georgia, and he is our president-elect.” 

Raffensperger has received death threats from some of Mr. Trump’s supporters, as has voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling, who said this week that “someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed,” because of the president’s inflammatory rhetoric. Mr. Trump has attacked Raffensperger and the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, a Republican.

Sterling also told CBS News this week that will he believes Mr. Trump’s rhetoric casting doubt on the election will actually suppress votes, “and cost Republicans control of the United States Senate.”

“I believe they’ll suppress turnout on one side, mainly the Republican one, because they are being told your votes don’t count, they’re not real,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Biden has said that he will travel to Georgia to campaign for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff, who is facing Perdue, and Raphael Warnock, Loeffler’s opponent. Former President Obama has also appeared in virtual campaign events for the two candidates.

Sara Cook contributed to this report.

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