It was about two years ago when Donald Trump first tweeted about Brad Raffensperger, who was running at the time as the Republican candidate for secretary of State in Georgia. The president said Raffensperger would be "fantastic" at the job, adding, "It is really important that you get out and vote for Brad."
Exactly two years to the day later, Trump delivered a Thanksgiving message in which he described Raffensperger as "an enemy of the people."
There's no great mystery as to what transpired in the 24 months in between the two statements. The outgoing president narrowly lost Georgia in this year's elections, and he's blaming Raffensperger -- a conservative Republican and longtime Trump supporter -- for not being corrupt enough when administering the state's system of elections.
In the weeks since his defeat, Trump's fury toward the Georgia official has intensified, leading to a pair of tweets published around midnight, starting with this gem.
"I love the Great State of Georgia, but the people who run it, from the Governor, [Brian Kemp], to the Secretary of State, are a complete disaster and don't have a clue, or worse. Nobody can be this stupid. Just allow us to find the crime, and turn the state Republican."
First, "Just allow us to find the crime" is an amazing thing for anyone to write, and a reminder that the president and his team are still searching desperately for evidence that doesn't exist. Second, "Nobody can be this stupid" is one of those phrases I'm going to brush right past without comment.
But it was the other late-night tweet that included a new accusation of particular interest.
"Now it turns out that Brad R's brother works for China, and they definitely don't want 'Trump'. So disgusting!"
Among the many problems with Trump's accusation is that Brad Raffensperger's brother does not work for China. We can say this with great certainly because Brad Raffensperger does not have a brother.* [Update: see below]
As The Daily Beast noted, there is a random man named Ron Raffensperger who works for a subsidiary of the Huawei conglomerate, but it's just a coincidence that the two men share the same last name. The president's "disgusting" observation is about as reliable as his ridiculous claims about winning the election he lost.
In case this isn't obvious, let's note for the record that even if Raffensperger had a brother, and even if this imaginary brother worked for China, it wouldn't matter. Trump still lost Georgia and still lost the election. But putting aside any other consideration, it's unhealthy for a sitting president to lash out at siblings who don't exist.
Update: CNN's Daniel Dale, citing Raffensperger's staff, originally noted that the Georgia secretary of state only had two sisters. Upon further reporting, however, Raffensperger does have a brother, but he doesn't have anything to do with China, and Trump really was peddling a ridiculous conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.