The president’s claim came during a bizarre late night twitter rant in which he called the Secretary of State and Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp ‘a complete disaster’ for not supporting the Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the election result.
‘I love the Great State of Georgia, but the people who run it, from the Governor, @BrianKempGA, to the Secretary of State, are a complete disaster and don’t have a clue, or worse. Nobody can be this stupid. Just allow us to find the crime, and turn the state Republican…’ the president tweeted.
His attention then turned to Raffensperger. ‘Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China,’ he wrote, ‘and they definitely don’t want “Trump”. So disgusting!’
However, commentators and conspiracy theory de-bunkers were quick to point out that Ron Raffensperger – who is the CTO for a subsidiary of the Huawei conglomerate – is not actually related to the Secretary of State.
Pictured left: Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Secretary of State and right: Ron Raffensperger, CTO of Huawei Enterprise Storage Solutions, of no relation. A conspiracy theory has claimed the two are related, and that the Secretary of Sate is linked to China
Trump’s tweets followed the announcement – made by Brad Raffensperger on Tuesday evening – that a ballot signature match audit in Cobb County found ‘no fraudulent absentee ballots,’ and confirmed the ‘original outcome’ of the November 2020 presidential race.
In a surprise result in the 2020 election, Georgia swung in favour of now-President-elect Joe Biden, who will assume office on January 20 when he is inaugurated.
But since the election, the Trump administration and supporting Republicans have been making attempts to overturn the result in Georgia and other swing states.
In last-ditch attempts to win the incumbent a second term, they have been making unfounded claims of voter fraud that have been roundly rebutted by the courts.
Trump’s latest series of tweets on Tuesday saw the President once again calling for the result in the state to be overturned, but it was the attack on Raffensperger that drew the most attention.
As reported by the Daily Beast, the conspiracy theory about Ben Raffensperger’s ‘brother’ was so outlandish that even the far-right website Gateway Pundit recently deleted an article that made the same claim.
Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) speaks at a press conference at Emory University earlier this month. In a bizarre twitter rant late on Tuesday night, President Trump called the Governor and the state’s Secretary of State a ‘disaster’ for refusing to support overturning election results
Stephen Fowler, a Georgia reporter, was the first to debunk the conspiracy theory Trump’s tweets.
‘The “theory” is that Ron Raffensperger is Brad Raffensperger’s brother, and somehow because Huawei is a Chinese company, that somehow China owns Dominion (it doesn’t) and somehow nefariously installed machines in GA,’ he wrote.
‘Pesky thing is – Raffensperger doesn’t *have* a brother.’
Ron Raffensperger, the person who Trump is appeared to refer to as the Secretary of State’s brother, ‘is the CTO of Huawei Enterprise Storage Solutions’, according to Huawei.com.
The Trump administration has repeatedly attacked China and Huawei during his four years as commander in chief, and on May 15 Trump signed an executive order placing Huawei on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List as part of an on-going trade war with China.
Reuters reported at the time that the move banned Huawei from buying vital parts and components from U.S. companies without special approval, and effectively barred its equipment from U.S. telecom networks on national security grounds.
On Thursday, Brad Raffensperger released a statement saying that no fraudulent absentee ballots were found in the signature match audit in Cobb County.
‘Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China,’ Trump wrote on Tuesday, ‘and they definitely don’t want ‘Trump’. So disgusting!’ Brad Raffensperger and Ron Raffensperger are not related, despite their shared surname
‘The secretary of state’s office has always been focused on calling balls and strikes in elections and, in this case, three strikes against the voter fraud claims and they’re out,’ said Raffensperger.
‘We conducted a statewide hand recount that reaffirmed the initial tally, and a machine recount at the request of the Trump campaign that also reaffirmed the original tally. This audit disproves the only credible allegations the Trump campaign had against the strength of Georgia’s signature match processes.’
The audit came following credible allegations that process was not followed in the June primaries.
‘Of the 150,431 absentee ballots received by Cobb County elections officials during the November elections, the audit ‘reviewed 15,118 ABM ballot oath envelopes from randomly selected boxes,’ or around 10% of the total,’ the release sated.
‘The sample size was originally chosen to meet the 99 percent confidence threshold,’ it said, adding that ‘no fraudulent absentee ballots’ were found with a 99 percent confidence threshold.
The audit found that just two ballots should have been identified by Cobb County election officials, according to WTOC.com.
Trump has clashed with the Georgia Governor and Secretary of State in the past.
Hours after the Electoral College met to make President-elect Joe Biden‘s win official on December 15, Trump revived claims of election fraud and forwarded a call to jail Georgia officials who refused to heed his demands to overturn the vote.
President Trump retweeted a post saying Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Reffensperger ‘will be going to jail’ that depicted them wearing masks with the flag of the People’s Republic of China
On the day, Trump tweeted an image of Gov Kemp and Brad Rathensperger photo-shopped to be wearing masks with the flag of China on it.
Lawyer Lin Wood, who filed Trump-backing ‘Kraken’ lawsuits that have been hammered in court, tagged the two men and wrote that Trump gave them ‘every chance to get it right.’
‘They will soon be going to jail,’ he added, in the tweet the president retweeted.