Kelly Loeffler was on one last night, and by “one,” I mean what seems like perhaps a bottle of Xanax. On Sunday evening, Loeffler and Raphael Warnock participated in a debate for the Georgia Senate runoff election, taking place on January 5, and Loeffler’s performance can best be summed up as cosplaying a rightwing robot spitting out canned phrases designed to appeal to the MAGA crowd.
Repeatedly describing Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, as “radical, liberal Raphael Warnock”—more than a dozen times, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution!—Loeffler dodged questions throughout the hour-long debate and instead pivoted to a Fox News word salad, throwing out words and phrases like “socialism” and “Marxism” and “defund the police” in a limp attempt to convince voters that a rich businesswoman with an expensive blowout can better represent their interests than a widely respected pastor who believes no one should have their health care taken away during a pandemic.
Here’s a representative sample of Loeffler’s debate performance:
Loeffler started off her evening by refusing to acknowledge that Donald Trump lost the election. Via Politico:
In the first question of the debate, Loeffler refused to say whether Trump had lost the election despite Georgia’s certification of the results. Trump held a rally to boost her and fellow GOP Sen. David Perdue in the state Saturday, where he repeated his false claim that the election was rigged against him.
“The president has every right to every legal recourse, and that’s what’s taking place,” she said, in an answer she repeated several times when pressed on Trump’s remarks.
It devolved from there. When the debate turned to police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement, which Loeffler has described a “radical organization with a Marxist platform,” Loeffler engaged in some creative verbal gymnastics to avoid saying the phrase “Black lives matter” before offering her full-throated support of police officers.
“Well, the life of every African American is important, and there is no place for racism in this country,” Loeffler said, before affirming that there is indeed a place for racism in this country: “But there are organizations whose number one goal is to defund the police. And we know that that hurts minority communities more than anyone. And we have to stand with our men and women of law enforcement. And I will always do that.”
Warnock then spoke movingly of the need for police reform, before referencing the fact that members of the WNBA team Loeffler owns despise her. “People on both sides of the aisle know that our current criminal justice system needs reform. And we saw that this summer, a multiracial coalition of conscience pouring out into American streets after the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. And what did Kelly Loeffler do? She used her enormous privilege and power as a United States senator to pick a fight with the Black women on her team.”
He added, “She says she is against racism and that racism has no place, but she welcomed the support of a QAnon conspiracy theorist and she sat down with a white supremacist for an interview.”
Loeffler’s response to Warnock’s criticism? “There is not a racist bone in my body,” she said. Classic!
The only positive thing to say about Loeffler? At least she showed up, unlike her fellow Republican David Perdue, who dodged his debate with Democrat Jon Ossoff and likely spent the evening instead engaging in his favorite corruption-adjacent hobby, trading stocks.