Trump and Biden trade barbs in competing campaigns in swing state of Georgia

Trump and Biden trade barbs in competing campaigns in swing state of Georgia

Donald Trump and president Joe Biden traded barbs on Saturday as they both campaigned in Georgia, signifying the key role the state may play in November’s general election.

Mr Trump, who faces criminal charges for undermining the 2020 US presidential election in the state, repeatedly insisted falsely that he was the victim of election fraud.

He blasted Georgia district attorney, Fani Willis, who is prosecuting the former US president for interfering with the 2020 election.

“They’re trying to take us out, and it’s not going to work,” Mr Trump told a rally in Rome, Georgia.

He also devoted much of his time to the immigration crisis in the US, blaming Mr Biden for the death of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley who was killed last month allegedly by an undocumented immigrant from Venezuela.

During his State of the Union remarks, Mr Biden used the term “illegal” immigrant to refer to Riley’s alleged murderer, to which he apologised on Saturday.

Joe Biden went on television and apologized for calling Laken’s murderer an illegal...Biden should be apologizing for apologizing to this killer,” Mr Trump said at the rally in Georgia.

Last month, Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, was attacked and killed while going for a run. She died of blunt force trauma to the head after her killer allegedly used an object to strike her, “disfiguring her skull,” before “dragging” her to a “secluded area”.

Police say her murder came at the hands of murder suspect Jose Antonio Ibarra, the man who was charged on 23 February with malice murder, felony murder, false imprisonment and kidnapping in the case.

Mr Ibarra is not a US citizen and is an undocumented migrant.

The former US president was campaigning in right-wing firebrand congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s hometown of Rome on Saturday.

Mr Biden, who was campaigning in the state capital Atlanta, called out the ex-president for entertaining Hungary’s right-wing nationalist prime minister Viktor Orban, accusing him of “sucking up to dictators and authoritarian thugs all around the world”.

“When he says he wants to be a dictator, I believe him,” the US president said.

Mr Trump is expected to win his party’s nomination on Tuesday when Georgia – a state central to Trump’s fraud claims – along with Hawaii, Mississippi, and Washington states are set to hold nominating contests.

He so far has 1,076 delegates on his side, and needs 139 more for the number needed to become the Republican nominee. Meanwhile, Mr Biden has the nod of 1,859 delegates and is 109 short of securing the Democratic ticket.

Mr Biden too faces strong backlash from his own party for his staunch support of Israel in its invasion of Gaza in the fight against Hamas.

At one of his campaigns in Georgia on Saturday, a heckler was escorted out after he called the president “Genocide Joe”.

Georgia, which swung in Mr Biden’s favour in 2020, could be the most highly contested state in the upcoming elections.

In 2020, Mr Biden won the state by a very small margin of just 0.23 per cent.

While the ex-president continues to insist there was election interference in 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the state’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, have been adamant that no widespread fraud occurred.

Georgia prosecutors allege that Mr Trump and his allies engaged in a conspiracy, making false claims about the election in a concerted effort to disrupt the official certification of votes – an allegation which Trump denies.