MSNBC hosts did not bring up former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ refusal to officially concede her 2018 election loss Tuesday as she criticized Republicans who continue to question the legitimacy of the 2020 race.
“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski introduced Abrams as “pretty amazing” for writing fiction novels in addition to “saving democracy” due to her voting organization work.
Reacting to GOP-led hand recounts of votes cast in Arizona’s Maricopa County and an audit of the absentee ballots in Georgia’s Fulton County, Abrams said they were schemes meant to perpetuate the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump.
“This is a power grab as opposed to any legitimate attempt to improve access to our democracy, and that is an issue of patriotism,” she said. “It is not an issue of partisanship.”
Citing polls showing a majority of Republicans do not believe President Biden won legitimately, Brzezinski asked how that could be countered and why it was happening.
“I actually give a great deal of credit to the media for refusing to repeat … the argument that there is some question about the legitimacy of the elections,” Abrams said. “We have to keep saying this is not true, but we can’t keep repeating the people who are posing the lies. One of the most effective ways to combat disinformation is to refuse to repeat it.”
Neither Brzezinski nor co-host Willie Geist mentioned Abrams’ controversial response to her 2018 defeat during the interview, which also delved into her novels.
Abrams accused Republican opponent Brian Kemp of effectively rigging the race against her in 2018, when she lost by less than 55,000 votes. While Abrams acknowledged Kemp was the next governor, she accused him of systematic voter suppression as the then-secretary of state and declared she was not giving a “speech of concession.” She has repeatedly claimed in the years since that Kemp did not fairly win the race.
However, voter turnout surged during Kemp’s tenure as secretary of state, and her claims that Kemp “purged” active voters did not hold up to scrutiny. Rural precinct closings were outside his office’s purview, and despite her rhetoric questioning the election result, Abrams has enjoyed highly positive media coverage and become a Democratic Party star since her campaign to become the nation’s first Black female governor.
Biden narrowly won Arizona and Georgia, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had claimed the states since 1996 and 1992, respectively. Trump has repeatedly said the 2020 election was fraudulent and rigged against him, but has not proven his allegations and met multiple defeats in court. He never officially conceded his loss to Biden.