Trump accused by Republican official of inspiring threats of violence

Republican official Gabriel Sterling said while President Donald Trump had the right to fight for every legal vote, it was his responsibility to draw the line. PHOTO: NYTIMES

ATLANTA (BLOOMBERG) - Georgia's Republican voting system manager denounced President Donald Trump and the state's two Republican US senators for not condemning, and even encouraging through silence, the threats of violence being made against election workers and the state's top elections official.

His voice shaking with anger, the normally even-keeled Gabriel Sterling said his boss, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, had received death threats, has had Mr Trump supporters driving caravans around his house and entering his property and that "his wife of 40 years" has been getting threats over her mobile phone.

"It has to stop," he added.

Mr Sterling said he decided to speak out after he learned about a series of threats against a 20-year-old contractor - including photos of a noose with his name on it - in response to a video of him working with a piece of election equipment.

The video has been widely circulated this week by Mr Trump backers as proof of fraud, which it's not, Mr Sterling said.

"This kid took a job. He just took a job," Mr Sterling said during a news conference on Tuesday (Dec 1) in Atlanta to provide an update on the progress of a recount requested by Mr Trump. "I can't begin to explain the level of anger I have right now over this. And every American, every Georgian, Republican and Democrat alike, should have that same level of anger."

Mr Sterling directly addressed Mr Trump, saying that while he had the right to fight for every legal vote, it was his responsibility to draw the line.

"Mr President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia," Mr Sterling said. "Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed. And it's not right."

"Elections are the backbone of this democracy and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this," he said. "It's too much."

Mr Sterling also criticised Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both facing Jan 5 runoff elections, for failing to condemn the threats.

Calls by the senators for Mr Raffensperger to resign and Mr Trump calling him an enemy of the people "helped open the floodgates," he said.

"There are some nut-balls out there who are going to take this and say, 'The president told me to do this,"' Mr Sterling said. "You have to be responsible. You have to be responsible in your rhetoric, you have to be responsible in your statements, you have to be responsible in your deeds. That shouldn't be too much to ask."

Mr Sterling said 91 of the state's 159 counties have finished the recount requested by Mr Trump after the state certified Mr Joe Biden as the winner on Nov 20 after a hand audit of ballots.

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