Raffensperger escorted out of Ga. Capitol after it was surrounded by pro-Trump mob
ATLANTA — On Wednesday, while much of the country’s attention was focused on the riots unfolding in Washington, D.C., another standoff was taking place in Georgia.
Militiamen and other far-right Trump supporters in Atlanta surrounded the state’s Capitol building in search of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
As the group tried to enter the building to hand deliver a list of grievances about the November election, and Raffensperger’s refusal to overturn the results, Georgia Capitol police, fearing for the safety of the secretary of state and his staff, escorted them out of the building, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We heard reports of threats and left immediately,” spokeswoman Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said.
Raffensperger is Georgia’s top elections official, who last Saturday was pressured by Trump on a phone call that was recorded and published by the Washington Post. On the call, Trump is heard asking Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn the results of the general election in the state.
The standoff at Georgia’s Capitol building followed a small “Stop the Steal” protest nearby where roughly two dozen people, some carrying assault-style weapons, had gathered to challenge the legitimacy of the November election. One of the men in attendance was Chester Doles, a longtime white supremacist and member of the Ku Klux Klan, who made headlines last month after posing with a picture with GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Some cars passing the protest honked in support, while others looked on in dismay.
The incident came the same day history was made in the state as Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were declared the winners of their Senate runoff races against incumbents Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue. Those wins will give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2015. Warnock became the first Black senator from Georgia and Ossoff became the first Jewish senator to represent the state.
But the significance of those victories were overshadowed by what took place in D.C.
“Today’s insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol was incited by Trump’s poisonous lies & flagrant assault on our Constitution,” Ossoff tweeted Wednesday. “The GOP must discard and disavow Trump once and for all, end its attacks on the electoral process, & commit fully to the peaceful transfer of power.”
“In this moment of unrest, violence and anger, we must remember the words of Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that,” Warnock tweeted. “Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Let each of us try to be a light to see our country out of this dark moment.”
Atlanta’s demonstration was puny in comparison to the massive “Stop the Steal” rally where 25,000 to 35,000 diehard Trump supporters gathered before hundreds of them stormed the Capitol and occupied it before the National Guard was called to restore order. Four people died as a result of that rally, according to Washington, D.C., police.
In an interview with Yahoo News on Thursday, Warnock maintained that Wednesday’s riot in D.C. shows that words matter.
“What we saw yesterday is that words have power,” Warnock said. “Unfortunately, the occupant of the White House has been ginning up this bigotry, frustrations and resentments [for] some time. The problem is it’s been aided and abetted by other politicians, including my opponent during this Senate race. So this is what you get.”