The Georgia election official who rebuffed Republican attempts to overturn presidential election results in the state is now accusing President Joe Biden of “perpetuating economic blackmail” by suggesting that Major League Baseball should pull its All-Star game out of Georgia over its election law.
“I think it’s morally reprehensible and disgusting that he’s perpetuating economic blackmail over a lie,” Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer for Georgia’s secretary of state, told The Dispatch in response to Biden’s remarks earlier this week about the Georgia bill.
Sterling, a Republican, rose to national prominence when he refused demands from his own party, including from President Donald Trump, to audit the presidential election results in Georgia. Sterling, along with Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, repeatedly rejected Trump’s calls to overturn the vote.
Sterling, who has said he voted for Trump, also blamed Trump’s rhetoric about the election for Republicans losing both seats in the U.S. Senate.
In an interview on ESPN on Wednesday, Biden said that he supports moving this year’s All-Star game from Atlanta because of the bill, which was signed into law last Friday.
“The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports,” Biden said when asked about moving the game. “I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders.”
Democrats have alleged that the bill will make it more difficult to vote, and disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters. Biden has called the measure “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
Biden has repeatedly pushed false claims about the law, including that it cuts the hours of poll locations across Georgia.
Defenders of the law say that it expands access to the polls for most Georgians, while mandating 17 days of early voting. The Dispatch notes that many other states, including Biden’s home state of Delaware, offer fewer days of in-person early voting.
Several companies, including Delta and Coca-Cola, have joined with Democrats in condemning the bill. Both companies have faced threats of boycotts for not publicly opposing the bill.
Sterling compared Biden’s false claims about the Georgia bill to Trump’s allegations that the presidential vote was rigged against him.
“It’s a lie,” he told The Dispatch. “This is no different than the lie of Trump saying there was voter fraud in this state. And the people who are going to be most hurt by [a boycott] are the workers in all of these places that are going to be impacted.”
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