For the last two months, Donald Trump and his most diehard supporters have whined and wailed that Joe Biden didn’t really beat Trump. No, no–Trump actually had victory stolen from him, and they have proof. But time and again, when asked to provide extraordinary evidence to back up this extraordinary claim, Trump and his cronies have only offered us bunko, innuendo, conspiracy theories, and outright nonsense.
Judges from both sides of the spectrum–including Trump appointees–know this. Time and again, they have taken arguments proffered either by Trump or on behalf of Trump, wadded them up, and thrown them back at him. It has been obvious for some time that the ones wailing “Stop the steal!” are the ones trying to steal this election. They are engaging in a desperate attempt to disenfranchise the 81 million people who rose up and told Trump, “You’re fired!”
On Sunday, The Washington Post uncovered evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt, but beyond ALL doubt, that Trump is the one trying to steal an election he didn’t legitimately win. The Post revealed that earlier that day, Trump had spent an hour on the phone demanding that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to “find 11,780 votes” that would allow him to overturn Biden’s margin of victory there.
Raffensperger admantly refused to give in, despite a barrage of threats from Trump. He even went as far as to threaten Raffensperger with criminal charges if he couldn’t find “proof” that thousands of ballots in redder Atlanta suburbs had been illegally destroyed. This claim has been peddled throughout the right-wing fever swamps, despite no evidence to support it.
Listen to a clip here.
Trump comes across as a crime boss attempting to shake someone down for a favor, an impression that remains even after reading the full transcript and listening to the full conversation. One would have thought that this irrefutable proof that Trump is the one trying to perpetrate “the steal” would have been enough to knock scales off the eyes of his most diehard supporters.
But apparently it wasn’t enough to convince Al Perrotta, managing editor of The Stream, a religious right oriented Web magazine fronted by longtime culture warriors James Robison and Michael Brown. On Monday–more than 24 hours after The Post’s bombshell story went live–Perrotta urged Biden to endorse Senator Ted Cruz’ call for an audit of the election results before Congress convenes on Wednesday to certify the Electoral College results.
Hours before the new Congress was sworn in, Cruz announced that he would object to certifying the Electoral College results without a 10-day audit of election results in “disputed states.” He was joined by six other incumbent Republican Senators, as well as four incoming Republican Senators. This comes on the heels of fellow Republican Josh Hawley saying that he will object to the certification as well.
Perrotta believes that this audit amounts to “a gift for Biden.” He believes that Biden is only on the verge of becoming president after telling Trump supporters to ignore what was “by any logical measure an election heist.” However, he concedes that “barring a shocking turn,” Biden will prevail. However, Perrotta claimed that Bien is about to “a weak and hollow victory,” with Trump supporters believing that he not only stole the election, but “does not care about their concerns.”
However, Perrotta sees one way out–if Biden agrees to the audit. As he sees it, Biden would be “the biggest beneficiary” of this audit, since it will be hard proof that he is willing to “go the extra mile for those who didn’t vote for him. He isn’t optimistic that Biden will take this chance, since he has “never shown a willingness to be bold or brave.” Rather, he comes across as a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
It would be easy to dismiss this as more Trumpkin shibboleth, especially seeing that Perrotta offers absolutely no evidence to support that Biden only lost by means that were “by any logical measure an election heist.” But the real rub is the timing. This article went live on Monday–almost 24 hours after The Post’s article went live.
So let’s see if we’ve got this right. On Sunday, the nation heard Trump trying to bully and bludgeon Georgia’s top election official into trying to “find” enough votes that would allow him to steal a state he didn’t win. And almost a day later, the managing editor of a religious right blog is saying Biden should be the one to prove he won legitimately?
It would be easy to conclude that Perrotta simply didn’t read the article. But he retweeted an out-of-context blurb from the transcript provided by Breitbart White House correspondent Charlie Spiering.
Spiering claims that Raffensperger’s general counsel, Ryan Germany, was ready to sit down with members from Trump’s legal team to discuss evidence of more than 24,100 illegally counted votes, only to backtrack. If you believe Spiering–and presumably Perrotta–it’s proof that Raffensperger and his office have something to hide.
But Spiering chopped away a long exchange between Trump lawyer Kurt Hilbert, Germany, and Trump himself in which Germany told them there was certain data that they couldn’t provide–but that they were more than willing to sit down with Trump’s people and explain why Trump’s numbers were wrong. Apparently Spiering thinks we’re too stupid to read the transcript for ourselves. And apparently Perrotta thinks so too, given how willingly he hit the retweet button. Swing and a miss, Al. Try again.
This retweet would be embarrassing by itself. But this comes on the heels of Perrotta insisting that Biden should be the one to produce the proof that he won–after the nation heard Trump try to extort his way into winning Georgia.
We’ve come to expect very little in the way of integrity from The Stream. After all, it has made almost no effort to address its relationship with evangelical activist Kelly Kullberg, who was unmasked in 2019 as the mastermind of a Russian-style influence campaign. As I write this, Kullberg’s articles at The Stream are still accessible. In contrast, when Jason Kessler rooked The Daily Caller into essentially publishing ad copy for the now-infamous Unite the Right Rally, The Daily Caller ended its relationship with him, and later deleted all of Kessler’s articles in the aftermath of the rally.
But this is another matter altogether. Insisting that Biden prove he won legitimately in the face of irrefutable proof that Trump was the one trying to steal votes amounts to Trump-style gaslighting. And it amounts to proof that Perrotta and his religious right colleagues are the ones trying to divide this country.
Perrotta, Robison and Brown must be put on notice. By pushing this innuendo about Biden stealing the election, they are undermining democracy. And they will be made to answer for it–one way or another.
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