Georgia election worker Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss’ safety and mental health were harmed after former President Donald Trump and his network of supporters spread lies about her rigging the 2020 presidential election, she said during the fourth public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on Tuesday.
In the weeks following the election, Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed that Moss and her mother — both of whom are Black election workers — had passed one another USB drives containing doctored votes like they were “vials of heroin or cocaine.” Giuliani and numerous social media figures even said they had a video of the handoff. In actuality, the video showed the two women handing off a breath mint, Moss told the committee.
When Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to pressure him to “find” more votes to help him defeat Joe Biden in the state, Trump mentioned Moss 18 times as “proof” of voter fraud. No actual proof has substantiated Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Over 60 court cases alleging fraud, brought by Trump and the Republican Party, have all been thrown out due to lack of evidence.
As the right-wing news outlets Newsmax and One America News (OAN) repeated the lies about Moss, the attention made her and her mother the target of death threats. One threat said she should “be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920,” a likely reference to a time when anti-Black lynchings were more commonplace.
The experience made Moss and her mother fear for their lives. Moss now lives in hiding, has gained 60 pounds, and is afraid to reveal her identity to others or spend much time in public.
“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” she told the committee. “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, a mother, a proud American citizen, who stood up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”
Moss is now suing Giuliani for his role in spreading lies about her. In May, OAN issued a retraction stating that there’s no proof that voter fraud overturned the 2020 election.
But Trump’s lies affected more than just Moss. An estimated 17 percent of America’s local election officials experienced threats during the 2020 election cycle due to false claims of voter fraud.