VALDOSTA, Ga. — Within seconds of taking the stage at his rally here Saturday night, President Trump falsely claimed that he’d “won Georgia.” Before he walked back to Air Force One, he’d played a video compilation of fraud claims, welcomed chants of “stop the steal,” urged a political ally to run against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, and repeatedly urged legislators and courts to throw out the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.
“They cheated and they rigged our presidential election, but we will still win it,” Trump said. “We’ll still win it. And they’re going to try and rig this election, too.”
Dinius wasn't the only Trump supporter who'd trekked to Georgia for the rally. Other attendees came from as close as the Florida Panhandle and as far away as California. On Saturday, and at a Friday rally with Vice President Pence, a dozen or so Chinese American activists from New York arrived in cars bearing anti-communist slogans, handing out anti-communist face masks (“END CCP,” a reference to the Chinese Communist Party), and collected signatures on anti-communist petitions.
It was jarring, but it blended in. The baseless idea that the CCP had rigged the 2020 election to oust Trump had been percolating in pro-Trump media ever since the election and been advanced by attorney Sidney Powell, who had been pushed away from the official Trump operation but continued to file lawsuits alleging a conspiracy to put Biden in office for the benefit of China and Iran. A pre-election memo from the intelligence community said that China would “prefer” a Biden win and Iran might use social media to sway votes but not that either could meddle with election integrity.
Voters were offered free copies of the Epoch Times, a Falun Gong-funded newspaper that offers devoutly pro-Trump news and covers the presidential election as if the results are still uncertain. They were approached for interviews by the Falun Gong-funded New Tang Dynasty Television and Sound of Hope radio network, which shared that editorial line.
On Thursday, One America News and the Epoch Times were among the only outlets with access to Georgia's election hearing.