RI’s Trump campaign fractured by co-chairs’ differing views on election results

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ There’s a rare crack in the otherwise rock-solid foundation among local supporters of President Donald Trump.

The co-chairs of Trump’s re-election campaign in Rhode Island are split on whether he should concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

Even before the election was called in favor of Biden, Trump has claimed there was widespread voter fraud connected to mail-in ballots, especially in key battleground states where Biden ultimately took the lead.

As it stands, Trump has filed lawsuits in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania, many of which were knocked down by judges who said they lacked legal backing or evidence.

“I think we’re crying over spilled milk,” local campaign co-chair Jerry Zarrella said, adding that Trump’s legacy is on the line. “We love the president, but it’s time. Let’s just do things in a classy way and let’s leave with dignity. Fifty years from now, people will read about this election and they are going to read about this virus. How do you want them to read it?”

“I don’t know, he might be a little bit disappointed in me, asking that he should concede,” Zarrella continued. “But eventually he needs to do that.”

Yet campaign co-chair Doreen Costa — a former state representative who made an unsuccessful bid for state Senate this year — tells 12 News she believes Trump can’t concede, especially while there are still votes being counted.

“There’s a Hail Mary pass here somewhere, possibly,” Costa said. “But nothing has been validated … not one state has been certified.”

Costa argues her views align more with those of other Republicans than Zarrella’s do.

“They are actually commending me for saying, ‘Keep up the fight,'” she added. “He has every right to do what he is doing.”

While Costa and Zarrella don’t agree on the election results, they do share common ground.

Both tell 12 News they want to see Trump take part in Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, no matter the outcome of the election.

“Every president we have ever had has been there, except for one, is my understanding,” Zarrella said. “He’s the most powerful man in the world and he is turning his power over to somebody else.”

“He should be there out of respect for the seat,” Costa said. “But it is Trump so you never know what he could possibly do.”

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