Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) doesn’t seem too eager to make himself available to join President Donald Trump’s Senate runoff campaign activities in the state this weekend, in a move that sharply diverges from a trend of Republican officials who flocked to be seen alongside Trump before his electoral defeat.
When asked during a CNN interview early Tuesday if he would be present when the President arrived in Georgia on Saturday to campaign for GOP candidates in the state’s upcoming runoff elections, the GOP official suggested his schedule was packed.
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said he had a "full day" when asked if he would be present when Pres. Trump, who is expected in the state on Saturday, campaigns for GOP candidates in the Senate runoffs. "I wish him the best of luck down here," he said. pic.twitter.com/jmS2CjrVIA
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 1, 2020
“I’ve got a full day on Saturday,” Duncan said, adding that he wasn’t aware of Trump’s travel details.
“I wish him the best of luck down here,” he said.
Trump agreed to join Vice President Mike Pence in campaigning on behalf of Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — two self-described Trump loyalists — who failed to obtain more than 50 percent of the vote in their state during the Nov. 3 election last month.
When pressed on whether Gov. Brian Kemp would be available to join the President on the campaign trail, Duncan was evasive, suggesting he wasn’t aware of his governing partner’s plans.
“I’m not certain of the governor’s travel schedule,” he said.
Kemp had once dutifully rushed to the President’s side, greeting him on the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta in July, while disavowing mask ordinances in his state to align with Trump’s hands-off message even as COVID-19 cases soared. He later opened for Trump at a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, weeks before the election in October.
Duncan’s hesitancy to embrace Trump’s visit came as the official indirectly criticized the President’s efforts to undermine the integrity of election results in his state — after Trump spent weeks repeatedly attacking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who refused to advance false claims of election fraud in the Peach State.
On Sunday, Trump continued to attack Raffensperger and told Fox Business Network during an interview that he was “ashamed” that he had endorsed Kemp, who has also refused to promote Trump’s wild conspiracies surrounding the election. Trump has profited from those attacks, using election fraud propaganda as fuel for a fundraising campaign to line the pockets of his post-election activities, according to a recent report.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Saturday flailed as she sought to secure voter support among Trump’s most staunch followers who appeared convinced of his baseless claims of election fraud at an event in Marietta.
Although Duncan was cautious about formally rebuking the President, he said that he was “not a fan of any of this misinformation.”
“I think we hurt the brand of our Republican party, which is certainly bigger than one person long term,” Duncan said.