On Thursday, the former mayor of Atlanta appeared at the Fulton County Jail after prosecutors booked the indicted president on charges of plotting with 18 allies to rig the 2020 election.
Keisha Lance Bottoms recently found herself in the crossfire of irate Donald Trump supporters after being mistaken for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
On Thursday, the former mayor of Atlanta appeared at the Fulton County Jail after prosecutors booked the former president on charges of plotting with at least 18 allies to rig the 2020 election.
Bottoms, who served as Atlanta’s mayor for four years between 2018 and 2022, recalled on CNN how Trump fans yelled “lock her up” — and wrongly mentioned Willis’ name.
“When I pulled up, they thought that I was Fani, and they started chanting it at me as well and just walking through crowds,” Bottoms said. “It was a lot of hatred out here.”
Following the former president’s use of the phrase “riggers” — a subtly racist play on the N-word — to criticize his opponents, Willis has been subjected to a barrage of racist online harassment, according to The Guardian.
The prosecutor wrote to Fulton County commissioners and judges earlier this month before publicizing the indictment, alerting them of the escalating tensions. She explained that she and her team had been subjected to racial threats and voicemails since she started looking into Trump’s effort to rig the election in Georgia two years ago.
Trump took to his social media site Truth Social on Monday night, hours after Willis had announced the indictments, to demand the dismissal of all charges and to assert his innocence. He did not specifically mention Willis but claimed the prosecution was pursuing the wrong criminals.
“They never went after those that Rigged the Election,” Trump wrote, The Guardian reported. “They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!”
Right-wing websites like Patriots.win and Gab quickly reacted to Trump’s reference to the racist epithet. Numerous derogatory social media posts about Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, contained the phrase.
The Georgia indictment accuses Trump associates of harassing the two Black Fulton County poll workers, going so far as to falsely accuse them of election fraud during the 2020 vote count.
Calls for violence have rapidly increased on far-right websites since the allegations were made public on Monday night. Several Gab posts advocated for the hanging of Willis and the grand jurors who presented the charges. Remarks on Patriots.win blended wordplay with explicit incitement for violence.
Trump increased his social media smears against Willis — who plans to take the criminal case to trial in March 2024 — as her investigation neared its conclusion, accusing her of prosecutorial misconduct and being racist.
Trump has a history of criticizing prosecution teams and judges whose decisions with whom he disagrees. Bottoms, who now serves as the White House’s senior adviser for public engagement, has long been vocal about her opposition to the twice-impeached president and his MAGA rhetoric.
According to ABC News, in 2022, she backed President Joe Biden’s prime-time speech warning of the damage “MAGA” Republicans face to American democracy.
In his remarks, Biden criticized the former president and his supporters, saying they “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
Bottoms maintained then that the president talked positively about the nation but warned it needed to “call out hatred.”
“This ‘MAGA’ Republican agenda, this hate-filled agenda … we saw incite violence on our nation’s Capitol, has no place in a democracy,” Bottoms said at the time, ABC reported. “And if we are not … calling it out, which is what the president did, then our country, everything that our country is built upon is in danger.”
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