Gov. Brian Kemp
The governor’s relationship with Trump was souring long before the 2020 election, as the two clashed over Kemp’s pick for an open U.S. Senate seat and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
But the governor’s rejection of Trump’s call for a special legislative session to reverse his defeat doomed their once-solid alliance, and Kemp fumed at the pro-Trump conspiracy theories that targeted his loved ones.
During his 2022 reelection bid, Kemp was careful not to antagonize the former president or his loyalists even after he easily defeated former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, his Trump-backed rival, in the GOP primary.
Kemp has felt freer to unload on Trump since his second win over Democrat Stacey Abrams. Still, he didn’t cheer the news of Trump’s indictment — but he also didn’t echo Trump allies in blasting a corrupt justice system.
Instead, Kemp declined to comment through a spokesman, citing the likelihood that he’ll be called to testify in a trial. Even so, he took aim at Trump on another front Tuesday after the former president repeated a lie that he lost a “rigged” vote in Georgia.
“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen,” Kemp said in a social media post that has since gone viral.
Former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan
Once an ally, Duncan broke with the then-president after the 2020 election as he faced pressure and threats because he opposed Trump’s push for a special legislative session that would have invalidated the Georgia election.
He soon became one of the former president’s most prominent Republican critics, building a media machine devoted to pushing his message of a post-Trump GOP. After declining a bid for a second term, Duncan has urged his party to leave Trump and his obsession with 2020 behind.
Duncan hardly held back as Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis prepared to bring charges against Trump and 18 allies. After testifying before the grand jury, he said in an interview that the nation is at a “pivot point” and voters are pining to do more than “just stew on the 2020 election cycle.”
“Now we’re going to have to pivot from there,” said Duncan, who called Trump the “worst candidate ever” in GOP history. “If we want to win an election in 2024, it’s going to have to be someone else other than Donald Trump to do it.”
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
Hardly recognizable even in Georgia before the 2020 election, Raffensperger became a political brand name after his January 2021 call with Trump leaked to the media.
The conversation is now a central pillar of the case against Trump, and the audio of the then-president demanding the state’s top elections official “find” exactly enough votes to overturn his defeat has been heard millions of times.
Raffensperger didn’t gloat over the charges against Trump, but he didn’t stay silent either. The second-term Republican, who will likely serve as a star witness in Trump’s trial, issued a two-sentence statement hours after the indictment was unveiled.
“The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law,” Raffensperger said. “You either have it, or you don’t.”
Attorney General Chris Carr
Trump’s pressure campaign against Carr drew relatively little attention in 2020, but it has now surfaced in the Justice Department’s four-count indictment and Willis’ case against the former president.
It involved Trump’s failed attempt to persuade Carr to back a doomed Texas lawsuit that sought to toss out the election results in Georgia and other key states. Carr rebuffed Trump’s push to join the complaint and said he wouldn’t try to rally other AGs to his banner.
Asked for comment on the charges, Carr declined to comment through a spokeswoman who noted he testified before the special grand jury investigating Trump in May 2022.