Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, on Tuesday said that President Donald Trump’s continued legal challenges against the election results could tarnish the party’s image.
“It’s time for us as a country and as a party to move on,” he said. “I’m very, very worried that this affects our brand of conservatism.”
The chasm between Duncan and the GOP blew open when Trump slammed the lieutenant governor on Twitter, calling him “a RINO Never Trumper” who was elected “by falsely claiming to be ‘pro-Trump.'”
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, on Tuesday said that the President Donald Trump’s legal battles contesting the results of the 2020 election could hurt the party’s “brand of conservatism.”
During a CNN interview with host Erin Burnett, Duncan pleaded with the party to concentrate on winning the state’s Senate runoff elections in January instead of devoting resources to the Trump campaign’s string of unsuccessful lawsuits to overturn the election results.
Duncan, who was elected to his position in 2018, has accepted President-elect Joe Biden’s win, while most of his party has either chosen to remain silent on the matter or deny the Democrat’s victory. The lieutenant governor has rejected efforts to both prove fealty to Trump and spread debunked claims of voter fraud.
“It’s time for us as a country and as a party to move on,” Duncan said. “I’m very, very worried that this affects our brand of conservatism. The Republican Party, we’ve got good days in front of us. We need to keep looking for opportunities to improve.”
In a direct criticism of Trump’s online behavior, he added: “We need to communicate better. Two hundred and eighty characters on Twitter is not enough for us to be able to communicate to America, and especially those folks that maybe aren’t with us on every single issue.”
The disconnect between Duncan and most of the GOP was thrust into the national spotlight when the president on Monday attacked the lieutenant governor on Twitter, calling him “a RINO Never Trumper who got himself elected as LG by falsely claiming to be ‘pro-Trump'” and “too dumb or corrupt to recognize massive evidence of fraud.”
A “RINO” is a pejorative term generally reserved for members of the GOP who aren’t considered to be true conservatives.
Duncan responded by praising Trump’s time in office and then acknowledging his election loss. He also pushed for the GOP to mobilize for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who face stiff challenges from Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, in two key races that will determine control of the Senate.
“Thank you for 4 years of conservative leadership @realdonaldtrump,” he tweeted. “You’ve proven that a business minded outsider can be effective in DC and your legacy will last a generation in our Supreme Ct. Let’s agree that re-electing Kelly Loeffler & David Perdue should be your top priority.”
Despite the litany of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign, including multiple legal challenges in Georgia, the cases have overwhelmingly gone nowhere.
Trump has repeatedly slammed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for unproven allegations of voter irregularities in the state, something that the Republican leader has rejected. On December 5, the president spoke with Kemp by phone to persuade the governor to call a special legislative session to overturn the election results and install pro-Trump Electoral College electors.
Kemp declined to take up Trump’s demand.
On December 8, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a frequent Trump target, recertified the state’s election results showing that Biden defeated Trump in the presidential race. The president-elect won the state by a little over 12,000 votes, edging out Trump in the longtime GOP stronghold and securing its 16 electoral votes.
“Unfortunately, the guy I voted for did not win,” Duncan told CNN. “The person I campaigned for did not win.”
But, he added, “It’s time for us to move on.”
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