A top Georgia election official has lashed out at the rhetoric surrounding last month’s United States presidential vote and the threats of violence that have resulted, urging President Donald Trump to rein in his supporters and tell them not to commit acts of violence.
Gabriel Sterling admonished the president and Georgia’s two US senators, who are both locked in tight runoff races against Democrats and who called on Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign over claims that he mishandled the election.
Sterling is a Republican who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system.
“Mister President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions,” Sterling said on Tuesday.
“This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some. Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed.”
People have been driving in caravans past Raffensperger’s home, have come onto his property and have sent sexualised threats to his wife’s phone, said Sterling.
Raffensperger and Sterling both have police stationed outside their homes, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said it is investigating possible threats against officials to determine their credibility.
Trump, though, did not take the rebuke to heart, reiterating unproven claims of fraud relating to mail-in ballots in a tweet late on Tuesday that replied to an Atlanta TV journalist who tweeted about Sterling’s denunciation.
Sterling said his anger boiled over when he learned that a contractor with Dominion Voting Systems helping with the recount effort in suburban Gwinnett County received death threats after someone shot a video of him transferring a report to a county computer and falsely said he was manipulating election data.
“There’s a noose out there with his name on it. That’s not right,” Sterling said, adding that the contractor did not seek the spotlight by taking a high-profile position like Sterling or run for office like Raffensperger.
“This kid took a job. He just took a job.”
Trump last week called Raffensperger an “enemy of the people”, Sterling noted, adding, “that helped open the floodgates to this kind of crap”.