Around midnight last night, for reasons that aren’t yet clear, Donald Trump used his social media platform to launch a new offensive against an old perceived foe. It started with this unfortunate missive:
“Wow! Has anyone seen the Ruby Freeman ‘contradictions’ of her sworn testimony? Now this is ‘BIG STUFF.’ Look what was captured by Cobb County police body cameras on January 4, 2021. ... Now it gets really bad.”
Soon after, the former president published another item, accusing Freeman of election crimes, followed by a third missive, in which the Republican asked, “What will the Great State of Georgia do with the Ruby Freeman MESS?” Trump concluded that he’s battling “the evils and treachery of the Radical Left monsters who want to see America die.”
Both items referred to “suitcases” filled with ballots that Trump believes Freeman opened, all as part of the crime that was committed only in his imagination.
In case anyone needs a refresher, it wasn’t long after the 2020 elections when the nightmare began for a clerical worker in a county election office in Georgia and her mother. Trump and some of his rabid followers decided that Shaye Moss and her mother, Freeman, who had taken a temp job helping count ballots, were directly and personally responsible for including fake ballots in Georgia’s election tally.
In fact, unhinged Republicans claimed to have proof in the form of a video in which Moss and Freeman could be seen doing their jobs. What conspiracy theorists said were “suitcases” of bogus ballots were really just standard boxes used locally to transport actual ballots.
The video — which showed nothing nefarious or untoward — nevertheless made the rounds in conservative media and in far-right circles, with Republicans insisting that the images showed election fraud, reality be damned. Trump even put it on screen during one of his post-defeat political rallies. In fact, the former president went after the two Black women, by name, repeatedly, which in turn led Republican activists to threaten the women’s lives and show up at their homes.
Freeman, a retiree who started a small boutique business selling fashion accessories, was forced to flee her house, close her business, and move to an undisclosed location on the advice of the FBI for her own safety.
These women, who’d done nothing wrong, were terrorized because of a ridiculous lie. During the Jan. 6 committee’s televised hearings six months ago, the public had the chance to see their sworn testimony, in which they described their experiences in painful detail.
“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” Freeman testified.
“Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States to target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American. Not to target one,” Freeman added. “He targeted me. A proud American citizen who stood up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of a pandemic.”
That was six months ago. Overnight, Trump decided to pick the same unnecessary fight with the same innocent woman all over again.
Making matters worse, the former president has already been told that his accusations are false — not just by reporters and fact-checkers, but by his own Justice Department. As Rachel noted on the show several months ago, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue told Trump directly that the matter had been reviewed and the accusations were baseless.
After one conversation in which the then-president referenced an imagined suitcase filled with fraudulent ballots, Donoghue told Trump, “No, sir, there is no suitcase. You can watch that video over and over. There is no suitcase. There is a wheeled bin where they carried the ballots. And that’s just how they moved ballots around that facility. There’s nothing suspicious about that at all.”
Trump, in other words, was told the truth, but he chose to tell lies that put innocent election workers in danger — and last night, the Republican decided to do it again.