‘I appreciate them thinking of me’

Brad Raffensperger

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger thanked Russia for including him on a new travel ban.

  • “I accept that I’m not their cup of Russian tea,” he said in a Saturday statement mocking the list.

  • The action comes as Russia continues to retaliate against the US over sanctions.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger thanked the Russian government after they included him on a list of 500 Americans who are now banned from entering their country for allegedly spreading “Russophobia.”

Raffensperger, the state’s top election official who rose to national prominence in 2021 for rejecting then-President Donald Trump’s repeated entreaties to overturn now-President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia, roundly mocked his inclusion on the list.

“While I was previously unaware of my anti-Russian activities, I accept the verdict of Russia, whose commitment to truth, justice and the rule of law speaks for itself,” Raffensperger said in a statement.

“I can see where my commitment to free, fair and accurate elections, my tendency to speak truth to power and strong stance against war crimes would offend President Putin’s sensibilities. I accept that I’m not their cup of Russian tea,” he added. “My inclusion on this list is deserved, and I appreciate them thinking of me.”

The list, which was released Friday by the Russian Foreign Ministry, named US citizens who aren’t allowed to travel to Russia.

With his inclusion on the list, Raffensperger is in the company of many American officials, including former President Barack Obama, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, several GOP senators, and former ambassadors to Russia, Jon Huntsman Jr. and John Tefft.

The action comes as Russia continues to retaliate against a raft of Western countries over sanctions that have been imposed since the country first invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

While the Foreign Ministry didn’t specifically detail its gripes with Raffensperger, they indicated that their targets included “those in government and law enforcement agencies who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called storming of the Capitol.”

Diplomatic relations between the US and Russia have hit a low since the start of the war last year, with President Joe Biden having emerged as one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies in the ongoing conflict.

The Biden administration is currently working to bring Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich back the US, but Russia recently blocked a request for consular access to the journalist who they accuse of acting as a spy.

Gershkovich was detained in the country in March and formally charged with espionage in April. The Journal has vehemently denied the allegations against Gershkovich.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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