"Racist": Trump rages at Fani Willis on Truth Social for fighting GOP crackdown on local prosecutors

Georgia Republicans are pushing legislation to make it easier to remove local DAs. Critics say it's retaliation

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published March 6, 2023 1:16PM (EST)

Donald Trump (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis — the Georgia prosecutor investigating former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn his loss in the state — slammed new proposed Republican legislation targeting local prosecutors as "racist."

Two of the proposed measures in the state legislature would create an oversight board that could punish or remove local prosecutors for "willful misconduct," among a number of other vague reasons — which critics called a thinly veiled conservative attempt to oust prosecutors deemed to be too liberal. 

The Senate sent Senate Bill 92 to the House last week, after voting 32-24 to pass the legislation. The House is currently debating a similar bill, House Bill 231.

Willis first criticized the bills in a Senate Hearing last month, and reaffirmed her sentiment in an interview this week.

"For the hundreds of years we've had prosecutors, this has been unnecessary," Willis told The New York Times. "But now all of a sudden this is a priority. And it is racist."

Willis called out white Republican lawmakers, who she said are targeting Black and Hispanic Democratic prosecutors. 

Republicans fumed over Willis' comments, including Trump himself.

"The Racist District Attorney in Atlanta, Fani T. Willis, one of the most dangerous and corrupt cities in the U.S., is now calling the Georgia Legislature, of course, RACIST, because they want to make it easier to remove and replace local rogue prosecutors who are incompetent, racist, or unable to properly do their job," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "This is a great development for Georgia, but also other parts of the Country. Congratulations to the Georgia Legislature for having the courage to act boldly, fairly, and fast!"

Republican lawmakers criticized Willis at a hearing where she called the legislation racist.

"You're being emotional," Republican state Sen. Brian Strickland told Willis.

"For you to come in here and try to make this about racism, that this bill is directed at any district attorney or solicitor because of racism, is absurd, and it's offensive," added Republican state Sen. Bill Cowsert. "It's a racist statement on its own." 

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

Willis, the first Black woman to lead Georgia's largest district office, is also leading the criminal investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election in the state. Willis launched the investigation in 2021 after a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger emerged, in which Trump suggested that Raffensperger could "find" the 11,780 votes needed to flip the state election in his favor. 

Recent revelations by the Fulton County, Ga. special grand jury suggest that Trump could be criminally charged. Emily Kohrs, the forewoman of the special grand jury, said in media interviews last month that the panel recommended about a dozen indictments but did not say whether they include Trump.

"You're not going to be shocked. It's not rocket science," she told The New York Times.

The investigation has led to other Republican legislation. Lawmakers in Georgia sought immunity from testifying before bodies like the special grand jury after a judge presiding over the Trump inquiry required several lawmakers to do so, The New York Times reported. Republican state Sen. Brandon Beach also recently introduced legislation that would curb the kinds of information that members of a grand jury might share about their dealings. Beach was sent a letter informing him that he could be indicted last July.

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

MORE FROM Gabriella Ferrigine

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Donald Trump Fani Willis Politics