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Trump's attacks on Senate Republicans complicate his Georgia message

by JAMES ARKIN and ANDREW DESIDERIO | Story Source    Saturday January 2, 2021 - 4:25 AM
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President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue on Dec. 5, 2020, in Valdosta, Ga. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo
MACON, Ga. — President Donald Trump won't get his coveted $2,000 stimulus checks — and he's blaming the very Senate Republican leaders he's trying to protect in the closing days of Georgia's runoffs.

Trump's last-minute moves to close out his presidency — from his demand for increased stimulus payments to his unsubstantiated claims about the 2020 election — have put Republicans in a bind ahead of the state's runoffs next week that will determine which party controls the Senate. And the president's messaging is ironically aligned with that of Democrats, who see a renewed opening on their broader push for more coronavirus relief aid after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Though he is actively campaigning for the state's two incumbent GOP senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, holding a Monday night rally to drive turnout to help save the Republican majority, Trump is continuing to run roughshod all over the party's message for Tuesday's must-win runoffs and, some Republicans worry, giving Democrats a perfect opening.

On Friday, Trump called the Republican-controlled Senate "pathetic" for failing to deliver on the $2,000 stimulus checks and other demands he wanted to pair with it after the Senate voted to override his veto of the $741 billion defense policy bill.

"Now they want to give people ravaged by the China Virus $600, rather than the $2000 which they so desperately need," Trump tweeted, referring to Senate Republicans. "Not fair, or smart!"

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