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Opinion: Will Any Republican Leader Stand Up for Ruby Freeman?

Former president Donald Trump did what he always does in times of trouble, attacking a person of color, on Monday evening with three nonsensical screeds about Ruby Freeman.

Apparently, attacking this Black woman yet again failed to offer the relief from his dangerously wounded ego, and so he flailed about and reloaded Wednesday morning with a new pair of attacks on this woman who did nothing wrong except count votes that didn’t give Trump what he wanted.

Here is one of Trump’s wounded animal wails, offered with the caveat that he does these rants knowing they will be shared and thus his lies will be elevated and slink into the national consciousness. Trump lost Georgia fair and square. The 2020 election was the most secure election in U.S. history. Trump’s own Attorney General and officials in 50 states found no evidence of widespread fraud. Trump never provided evidence of his claims of fraud and his campaign lost their challenges based on claims of election fraud.

Yet, Trump is unwilling to accept that truth even now, so he punches down like he always has. Hence:

The Ruby Freeman tapes that I put up on Truth Social are AMAZING. Now they have been heard and seen all over America, together with the actual act of “stuffing the ballot boxes” with far more votes than needed for me, and Senator Perdue, to win GEORGIA. At first she thought that they had been caught, got VERY nervous, and wanted to “spill the beans” on everyone. Then the SOS, GBI, FBI, calmed her down, helped CLEAN her social media, took her away (for two months!). SHE THEN CHANGED HER STORY!

None of that happened. What did happen was Trump lost the 2020 election by millions of votes.

But still, Ruby Freeman was forced to shut down her own small business and flee her home to live in an undisclosed location on the advice of the FBI because of Trump’s accusations against her after he lost the 2020 election.

You see, Ruby, a grandmother, volunteered to do that job that citizens across America used to do to give back to their communities: She volunteered to do the tedious job of counting votes.

And those votes did not add up to a win for Trump, and so he honed in on Ruby and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, attacking them with lies, accusing them without evidence of rigging the November 2020 election for Joe Biden with “suitcases” of ballots.

It got worse. Reuters reported:

Freeman made a series of 911 emergency calls in the days after she was publicly identified in early December by the president’s camp. In a Dec. 4 call, she told the dispatcher she’d gotten a flood of “threats and phone calls and racial slurs,” adding: “It’s scary because they’re saying stuff like, ‘We’re coming to get you. We are coming to get you.’”

Two days later, a panicked Freeman called 911 again, after hearing loud banging on her door just before 10 p.m. Strangers had come the night before, too. She begged the dispatcher for assistance. “Lord Jesus, where’s the police?” she asked, according to the recording, obtained by Reuters in a records request. “I don’t know who keeps coming to my door.”

Freeman and Moss were working the Fulton County election. Fulton County is predominantly Black or African American, like many of the other areas Trump focused on with unproven and false accusations of fraud, like Detroit.

There is an undeniable racial component to Trump’s accusations of fraud focusing on cities with predominantly Black voters. It’s problematic that this is not discussed and accepted more broadly.

Justice Jill Karofsky of the Wisconsin Supreme Court pointed out that the “[t]wo counties . . . are targeted because of their diverse populations. Because they’re urban. I presume because they vote Democratic.” Addressing Trump attorney Jim Troupis, Justice Karofsky said, “This lawsuit, Mr. Troupis, smacks of racism.”

Of course, the man who has been a known racist also used racism to dog whistle to his followers who have been primed to believe racist lies about people in predominantly Black cities. Fundamentally, these attacks based on nothing but lies are an attempt to disenfranchise people of color, and the continued attacks on Ruby Freeman serve as a warning to other Black women not to participate in the electoral process, lest they also be accused based on nothing and driven out of their homes and businesses.

In June of 2022, we learned how Ruby Freeman felt after these attacks. “Do you know how it feels to have the President Of The United States target you?” Ruby Freeman asked.

Trump’s attacks on Freeman were a part of a widespread Trump campaign of pressure and intimidation of election officials.

This is Trump’s way of handling ego wounds. He lashes out and tries to draw blood. Other people’s pain and fear is the only salve he has when he’s hurt. And right now, he is hurt. Just the other day he went so far as to blame the midterm losses on Republicans for how they handled the overturning of Roe, in an attempt to point out that he is not the cause.

That was the rare occasion when the former president had a point. But he is wrong that he is not part of the brand problem facing the Republican Party.

Trump is a lost cause when it comes to seeking integrity and decency. However, where are the Republicans willing to stand up for Ruby Freeman? There should be at least a few in Republican leadership who could find a desire to even offer a modicum of decency enough to protest publicly against this ongoing assault on a private citizen in her 60s.

It’s likely that Freeman will consider litigation, which the Maddow Blog pointed out would be easier now that Trump is no longer a sitting president.

The profound lack of decency in Trump’s ongoing attacks on Ruby Freeman should not be brushed off as more of the same. They are dangerous, we all learned just how dangerous these election lies are on January 6th and then again with the attack on Paul Pelosi.

Someone in Republican leadership should be willing to stand up for an election worker who was forced to flee her own home due to violent threats from their party leader. Anyone? Anyone?

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