“There Is Nowhere I Feel Safe”

In wrenching testimony to the January 6 committee, Georgia election workers described what it felt like to become the targets of a vicious harassment campaign fanned by Trump and Giuliani.

Mother Jones illustration; Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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The January 6 committee heard live testimony today from Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a Georgia election worker who became the target of a vicious harassment campaign fanned by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and right-wing media outlets in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential campaign. 

“It’s turned my life upside down,” Moss said. “I no longer give out my business card. I don’t transfer calls. I don’t want anyone knowing my name…I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all. I’ve gained about 60 pounds…I second-guess everything that I do. It’s affected my life in a major way, in every way. All because of lies, for me doing my job, the same thing I’ve been doing forever.”

In December 2020, Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani began to elevate a misleadingly cropped video of Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, claiming that they were pulling “suitcases” of “illegal” ballots from under a table at a Georgia vote-counting center. Giuliani referenced the video in press conferences and on social media, tweeting that it proved “beyond doubt” that Fulton County Democrats had stolen the election.

At one point, Giuliani claimed that Freeman, Moss, and another election worker had been “surreptitiously passing around USB ports” like “vials of heroin or cocaine.” According to Moss, she and her mother were really exchanging a ginger mint. 

Even after subsequent investigations revealed that the “suitcases” were actually just standard ballot containers, both women—who are Black—were subjected to death threats, racist taunts, and doxxing. According to Moss, people attempted to force their way into her grandmother’s house to make a “citizen’s arrest.” Around the week of January 6, 2021, Freeman fled her home of 21 years after the FBI warned her that she was in danger.

I described that harassment in an article last year, citing reporting by Reuters and a complaint Freeman and Moss’s lawyers filed as part of a lawsuit against the Gateway Pundit, a right-wing blog:

According to a Reuters investigation that detailed the harassment, Freeman’s home address was posted on social media platforms, and Trump supporters publicly called for her execution. Strangers camped outside Freeman’s home and ordered pizza for delivery to lure her outside. Photos of Moss’ car and license plate were posted online… One particularly graphic comment underneath a Gateway Pundit article called for the two Black women to be “strung up from the nearest lamppost and set on fire.”

The committee also played video testimony from Freeman, who described the horrific consequences of being targeted by the most powerful elected official in the country. 

“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” Freeman stated. “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not target one. But he targeted me—lady Ruby, a small business owner…who stood up to help Fulton County run an election during the middle of a pandemic.”

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