Archives for category: Accountability

Yvonne Abraham is a brilliant columnist for the Boston Globe. She watched the impeachment hearings and found it ironic that the party defending the most divisive president in memory defends his seditious actions and language by appeals to “unity.”

She writes:

Unity. Seriously?

One after the other, the president’s defenders rose to the podium in the House chamber on Wednesday, trying to head off an inevitable vote for impeachment with one of the most transparently cynical gambits in recent memory.

We can’t impeach a president who incited a violent insurrection in which five people died, they argued, because it would further divide us, and what the nation needs now is to heal, to move on, to come together. Not by holding the inciter-in-chief accountable for sending a deadly mob to the Capitol and forcing some of these very legislators to flee for their lives, but by yet again letting him escape any consequences for his heinous actions.

The very leaders who refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, who themselves trucked in the falsehoods and debunked conspiracy theories about a stolen vote and oncoming tyranny — the lies that fueled the Capitol assault — were now preaching the gospel of unity. And they did it with straight faces.

For example, Madison Cawthorn, the newly elected congressman from North Carolina, urged Democrats to “vote against this divisive impeachment and realize that dividing America will not save this republic.”

That is pretty rich, given that MAGA diehard Cawthorn was all-in on the effort to overturn the results of the presidential election, even helping to whip up the mob at the rally before the insurrection. His first tweet after winning his House seat was “Cry more, lib.”

Here’s the thing about unity: To achieve it, you have to believe in a common good. And most members of this Republican Party have demonstrated over and over that they simply don’t.

She goes on to describe the loathsome behavior of the Republicans who were in hiding with Democrats. Some refused to wear face masks.

“It wasn’t all Republicans, just the organizers of the revolt,” said Representative Seth Moulton, who was one of the last to arrive in the room where hundreds took refuge. “They were clearly proud not to be wearing masks.”

Unity? Seriously? Don’t ask for if you don’t believe in it yourself.

I am still incredulous that so many Republicans defended a president who put their lives in danger and did nothing to protect them, no matter how many calls he received from top Republicans begging for protection from the mob he incited.

Katherine Stewart is the nation’s leading chronicler of Christian nationalism and the religious right. Her latest book, The Power Worshippers, is a must-read; I reviewed it in The New York Review of Books. This article appeared in The New York Times. It is an alarming and well-documented analysis of the religious zealotry and intolerance that propels Trumpism. Josh Hawley is competing with the loathsome Ted Cruz to be the next Trump.

In today’s Republican Party, the path to power is to build up a lie in order to overturn democracy. At least that is what Senator Josh Hawley was telling us when he offered a clenched-fist salute to the pro-Trump mob before it ransacked the Capitol, and it is the same message he delivered on the floor of the Senate in the aftermath of the attack, when he doubled down on the lies about electoral fraud that incited the insurrection in the first place. How did we get to the point where one of the bright young stars of the Republican Party appears to be at war with both truth and democracy?

Mr. Hawley himself, as it happens, has been making the answer plain for some time. It’s just a matter of listening to what he has been saying.

In multiple speeches, an interview and a widely shared article for Christianity Today, Mr. Hawley has explained that the blame for society’s ills traces all the way back to Pelagius — a British-born monk who lived 17 centuries ago. In a 2019 commencement address at The King’s College, a small conservative Christian college devoted to “a biblical worldview,” Mr. Hawley denounced Pelagius for teaching that human beings have the freedom to choose how they live their lives and that grace comes to those who do good things, as opposed to those who believe the right doctrines.

The most eloquent summary of the Pelagian vision, Mr. Hawley went on to say, can be found in the Supreme Court’s 1992 opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Mr. Hawley specifically cited Justice Anthony Kennedy’s words reprovingly: “At the heart of liberty,” Kennedy wrote, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” The fifth century church fathers were right to condemn this terrifying variety of heresy, Mr. Hawley argued: “Replacing it and repairing the harm it has caused is one of the challenges of our day.”

In other words, Mr. Hawley’s idea of freedom is the freedom to conform to what he and his preferred religious authorities know to be right. Mr. Hawley is not shy about making the point explicit. In a 2017 speech to the American Renewal Project, he declared — paraphrasing the Dutch Reformed theologian and onetime prime minister Abraham Kuyper — “There is not one square inch of all creation over which Jesus Christ is not Lord.” Mr. Kuyper is perhaps best known for his claim that Christianity has sole legitimate authority over all aspects of human life.

“We are called to take that message into every sphere of life that we touch, including the political realm,” Mr. Hawley said. “That is our charge. To take the Lordship of Christ, that message, into the public realm, and to seek the obedience of the nations. Of our nation!”

Mr. Hawley has built his political career among people who believe that Shariah is just around the corner even as they attempt to secure privileges for their preferred religious groups to discriminate against those of whom they disapprove. Before he won election as a senator, he worked for Becket, a legal advocacy group that often coordinates with the right-wing legal juggernaut the Alliance Defending Freedom. He is a familiar presenceon the Christian right media circuit.

The American Renewal Project, which hosted the event where Mr. Hawley delivered the speech I mentioned earlier, was founded by David Lane, a political organizer who has long worked behind the scenes to connect conservative pastors and Christian nationalist figures with politicians. The choice America faces, according to Mr. Lane, is “to be faithful to Jesus or to pagan secularism.”

The line of thought here is starkly binary and nihilistic. It says that human existence in an inevitably pluralistic, modern society committed to equality is inherently worthless. It comes with the idea that a right-minded elite of religiously pure individuals should aim to capture the levers of government, then use that power to rescue society from eternal darkness and reshape it in accord with a divinely-approved view of righteousness.

At the heart of Mr. Hawley’s condemnation of our terrifyingly Pelagian world lies a dark conclusion about the achievements of modern, liberal, pluralistic societies. When he was still attorney general, William Barr articulated this conclusion in a speech at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he blamed “the growing ascendancy of secularism” for amplifying “virtually every measure of social pathology,” and maintained that “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.”

Christian nationalists’ acceptance of President Trump’s spectacular turpitude these past four years was a good measure of just how dire they think our situation is. Even a corrupt sociopath was better, in their eyes, than the horrifying freedom that religious moderates and liberals, along with the many Americans who don’t happen to be religious, offer the world.

That this neo-medieval vision is incompatible with constitutional democracy is clear. But in case you’re in doubt, consider where some of the most militant and coordinated support for Mr. Trump’s postelection assault on the American constitutional system has come from. The Conservative Action Project, a group associated with the Council for National Policy, which serves as a networking organization for America’s religious and economic right-wing elite, made its position clear in a statement issued a week before the insurrection.

It called for members of the Senate to “contest the electoral votes” from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states that were the focus of Republicans’ baseless allegations. Among the signatories was Cleta Mitchell, the lawyer who advised Mr. Trump and participated in the president’s call on Jan. 2 with Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state. Cosignatories to this disinformation exercise included Bob McEwen, the executive director of the Council for National Policy; Morton C. Blackwell of The Leadership Institute; Alfred S. Regnery, the former publisher; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Thomas Fitton of Judicial Watch; and more than a dozen others.

Although many of the foot soldiers in the assault on the Capitol appear to have been white males aligned with white supremacist movements, it would be a mistake to overlook the powerful role of the rhetoric of religious nationalism in their ranks. At a rally in Washington on Jan. 5, on the eve of Electoral College certification, the right-wing pastor Greg Locke said that God is raising up “an army of patriots.” Another pastor, Brian Gibson, put it this way: “The church of the Lord Jesus Christ started America,” and added, “We’re going to take our nation back!”

In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, a number of Christian nationalist leaders issued statements condemning violence — on bothsides. How very kind of them. But few if any appear willing to acknowledge the instrumental role they played in perpetuating the fraudulent allegations of a stolen election that were at the root of the insurrection.

They seem, like Mr. Hawley himself, to live in a post-truth environment. And this gets to the core of the Hawley enigma. The brash young senator styles himself not just a deep thinker who ruminates about late-Roman era heretics, but a man of the people, a champion of “the great American middle,” as he wrote in an article for The American Conservative, and a foe of the “ruling elite.” Mr. Hawley has even managed to turn a few progressive heads with his economic populism, including his attackson tech monopolies.

Yet Mr. Hawley isn’t against elites per se. He is all for an elite, provided that it is a religiously righteous elite. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School and he clerked for John Roberts, the chief justice. Mr. Hawley, in other words, is a successful meritocrat of the Federalist Society variety. His greatest rival in that department is the Princeton debater Ted Cruz. They are résumé jockeys in a system that rewards those who do the best job of mobilizing fear and irrationalism. They are what happens when callow ambition meets the grotesque inequalities and injustices of our age.

Over the past few days, following his participation in the failed efforts to overturn the election, Mr. Hawley’s career prospects may have dimmed. Two of his home state newspapers have called for his resignation; his political mentor, John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, has described his earlier support for Mr. Hawley as “the biggest mistake I’ve ever made”; and Simon & Schuster dropped his book. On the other hand, there is some reporting that suggests his complicity in efforts to overturn the election may have boosted his standing with Mr. Trump’s base. But the question that matters is not whether Mr. Hawley stays or goes, but whether he is simply replaced by the next wannabe demagogue in line. We are about to find out whether there are leaders of principle left in today’s Republican Party.

Make no mistake: Mr. Hawley is a symptom, not a cause. He is a product of the same underlying forces that brought us President Trump and the present crisis of American democracy. Unless we find a way to address these forces and the fundamental pathologies that drive them, then next month or next year we will be forced to contend with a new and perhaps more successful version of Mr. Hawley.

This link will take you to interviews conducted by ABC’s WJLA in the District of Columbia.

Three police officers and the chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police describe what happened on January 6.

One of them was dragged out of one of the Capitol entrances and beaten with his own baton.

Another was crushed inside a door and nearly had an eye gouged out.

They describe a mob that was bent on mayhem and destruction. They describe a mob that wanted blood.

What you will hear is the voices of men and a woman sworn to uphold the law and to protect the Constitution.

They risked their lives for us.

The New York Daily News published messages released by Amazon to defend its decision to boot the right-wing Parler off its site.

Amazon sought to justify its shutdown of Parler on Thursday by sharing with a federal judge several deranged posts from the anti-social network.

Amazon attorney Ambika Doran said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Seattle that the tech giant had no choice but to stop hosting Parler on company servers after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“The content at issue … encourages rape, murder and torture,” Doran said. The lawyer filed examples of inflammatory, disturbing Parler posts in court, which she called “the tip of the iceberg.”

The posts showed Parler users discussing mass murder of liberals, extreme homophobia and transphobia, racism, and attacks on Amazon itself.

“On January 20 we need to start systematically assassinating #liberal leaders, liberal activists, #blm leaders and supporters, members of the #nba #nfl #mlb #nhl #mainstreammedia anchors and correspondents and #antifa. I already have news worthy events planned,” read one bloodthirsty post.

Parler is demanding that Amazon restore its services.

ProPublica identified several well-known hate groups that took part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol, including the “Proud Boys,” the “Oathkeepers,” the “Bougaloo Bois,” and other white supremacist groups. Some promised a return to D.C. on January 19.

The Anti-Defamation League posted a guide to the leading figures of the white supremacist, anti-Semitic hate groups. This post is a “who’s who” of what ADL calls the “alt right” and the “alt lite.”

These are the people who inject a steady flow of bigotry and hatred into the public sphere.

Here is one of the entries:

Who’s Who: The Alt Right

Andrew Anglin runs the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. Anglin claims that his website “is designed to serve as a hardcore front for the conversion of the masses into a pro-White, anti-Semitic ideology.” His preferred audience is men, specifically “all disenfranchised and angry White males under the age of thirty,” and he has banned women from contributing content. Anglin promotes the hatred of Jews and the denigration of minorities, particularly black people, and encourages his followers to troll and harass their “enemies” – including journalists and private citizens. Anglin is a self-identified leader of the hardcore faction of the alt right. He also wrote a piece for the The Daily Stormer titled “A Normie’s Guide to the Alt Right,” in which he explains different facets of the movement.

If you open the link, you will see that Mr. Anglin is wearing a MAGA cap.

The New York Times published a description of the Far-Right symbols seen at the Insurrection.

It would be best if you get a subscription to the NY Times, so you can actually see the symbols. The omnipresence of these symbols demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that the mob was led by “Antifa,” which loathes Trump and his fascist enablers.

Militiamen showed up proudly bearing the emblems of their groups — American flags with the stars replaced by the Roman numeral III, patches that read “Oath Keepers.” Alt-right types wore Pepe the Frog masks, and QAnon adherents could be seen in T-shirts urging people to “Trust the Plan.” White supremacists brought their variant of the Crusader cross.

And then there were thousands of Trump supporters with MAGA gear — flags, hats, T-shirts, thermoses, socks. One flag portrayed President Trump as Rambo; another featured him riding a Tyrannosaurus rex and carrying the kind of rocket-propelled grenade launcher seen on the streets of Mogadishu or Kandahar.

The iconography of the American far right was on display on Jan 6. during the violence at the Capitol. The dizzying array of symbols, slogans and images was, to many Americans, a striking aspect of the unrest, revealing an alternate political universe where violent extremists, outright racists and conspiracy theorists march side by side with evangelical Christians, suburban Trump supporters and young men who revel in making memes to “own the libs.”

Uniting them is a loyalty to Mr. Trump and a firm belief in his false and discredited insistence that the election was stolen. The absurdity of many images — the patches that read “Zombie Outbreak Response Team,” for instance — only masked a devotion that inspired hundreds from the crowd to mount a deadly attack on Congress...

The Militias

Out in force were right-wing militias like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, whose symbol, the Roman numeral III, could be seen on patches and flags. Both groups are anti-government, pro-guns and, nowadays, devoted to Mr. Trump.

Others on the right who share the militia’s anti-government views often signal their beliefs with the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner dating to the American Revolution with a rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.” Dozens were waved at the Capitol last week.

And then there is the Confederate battle flag. A man carried the banner of secession and slavery through the halls of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Boogaloos and Proud Boys

The Boogaloos marked themselves by wearing their signature Hawaiian shirts. A group of Proud Boys showed up in orange hats.

Both the Boogaloos and the Proud Boys include racists and anti-Semites, though the outright white supremacists tend to keep a lower profile. Some wear Crusader crosses or Germanic pagan imagery that has become popular on the racist and anti-Semitic fringes. Others have adopted the “OK” hand gesture as their own, seeing it as mimicking the letters “W” and “P,” for “white power.” [Trump frequently makes that hand symbol.]

Pepe and ‘Kek’

Pepe the Frog, the smirking cartoon amphibian that has become a widely recognized symbol of the alt-right crowd, was a common sight.

Also on display were the green-and-white flags of Kekistan, the fictional country that is home to the deity “Kek.” In the meme-driven culture of the alt-right, a satirical religion has sprouted up around Kek “as a way to troll liberals and self-righteous conservatives,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. “He is a god of chaos and darkness, with the head of a frog, the source of their mimetic ‘magic,’ to whom the alt-right and Donald Trump owe their success.”

The flag is partly derived from the Nazi flag, a design that is treated as a provocative joke in alt-right circles.

QAnon

This conspiracy theory falsely claims that there is a cabal of Democrats, deep-state bureaucrats and international financiers who use their power to rape and kill children, and that Mr. Trump was elected to vanquish them.

The canard is convoluted and confusing, but its iconography is clear and was plentiful: There were shirts with the letter “Q” or slogans like “Trust the Plan”; signs saying “Save the Children”; and flags with the abbreviation “WWG1WGA,” which stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All.”

There were a few more categories. You get the idea. They are conspiracy theorists and insanely gullible, susceptible to the lies of a con man.

This is a clever farewell to @realDonald Trump, banished for life from Twitter, at last!

As someone said on Twitter in response, how will people know that they have been fired if they can’t read it on Trump’s Twitter feed?

Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect writes here about Donald Trump’s historic achievement as the only president in American history to be impeached twice.


JANUARY 13, 2021Meyerson on TAP

Impeachment: Second Time Around

One of the weirder sentiments expressed by Donald Trump’s Republican defenders during today’s debate on the impeachment resolution was that the Democrats had the chutzpah to impeach Trump twice. It wasn’t enough to have impeached him for conditioning aid to a foreign country on that country’s willingness to defame Joe Biden (then his likely Democratic opponent), but now, the Democrats were coming for him twice! Imagine that!

It’s an interesting argument, which, if followed to its logical conclusion, would mean that no career criminal could ever be charged for any but his or her first offense. But this was hardly the most ridiculous argument that Trump’s distinguished lady and gentlemen goons made on the floor of Congress today.

The most nauseating, and commonly voiced, was that the nation needed unity and that Democrats were thus unsettling the cosmic calm. That was largely the substance of Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s presentation. This was the same Kevin McCarthy who voted to overturn the popular and electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania last week; the same Kevin McCarthy who himself had insisted that Trump had won the election when he plainly and decisively had lost it; the same Kevin McCarthy who thereby helped create the political space for his Republican colleagues to persist in spouting such falsehoods to the point that they also incited the mob that attacked the Capitol last week. Trump, of course, was not alone in his incitement; he was joined by hundreds of Republican elected officials at all levels of government, and a critical mass of Rupert Murdoch’s broadcasting thugs and their voluble, seditious ilk.

Republicans also objected to the speed of the proceedings, to the absence of witnesses called before committees, as if the telecast of Trump’s speech last Wednesday to his followers charging them to go to the Capitol didn’t exist. But Republicans may be thankful that no witnesses were called, for if they had been, McCarthy would have been called by the prosecution. It’s been reported that he and Trump engaged in a screaming phone call as the mob coursed through the Capitol; McCarthy begging Trump to tell them to stop; Trump refusing to do so. It would have been interesting to hear McCarthy’s testimony about that call. One of the House Republicans who voted for impeachment today cited Trump’s refusal to call off his mob as the decisive factor in his vote. If anything, Trump’s declining to tell his supporters to stop attacking Congress is even more of a prima facie violation of his oath than his incitement to attack in the first place.

The one aspect of the past 24 hours’ events that lends itself to delicious speculation is the conduct of Mitch McConnell, who has been hinting that he might well vote to convict Trump when the Senate takes up impeachment. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that McConnell holds Trump responsible for the Republican defeats in Georgia’s senatorial elections and thus for the Republicans’ loss of the Senate majority and his own demotion to minority leader. It’s also reasonable to suspect that McConnell believes Trump will continue to drag the Republicans down in 2022, 2024, and who knows how long after that if he continues to loom over the party, much less if he’s its presidential nominee in 2024. Should Trump be convicted by the Senate, of course, he can’t be that nominee—a consummation, McConnell must hope, devoutly to be wished.

Republicans, as my colleague Bob Kuttner has written, will doubtless reunite in opposition to anything President Biden proposes, but the rip that has now opened in the party won’t be easy to mend, particularly if Trumpites mount primary challenges to Republicans who’ve jumped off the Trump ship, and if the Republicans who stuck with Trump lose re-election in competitive states and districts. Which would be wonderful; this is a party that deserves to tear itself to pieces. 
~ HAROLD MEYERSON
.

During the debate about impeachment, Trump’s defenders said the speech he gave to a rally on January 6 never encouraged violence and that his words were protected by the First Amendment. The event began at 11 a.m. and was called the “SAVE AMERICA MARCH.” Did he incite violence? Was he responsible for the mob that vandalized the Capitol? Read the speech and reach your own conclusion.

This is the verbatim speech that Trump delivered before a large crowd that morning, annotated by Aaron Blake of the Washington Post. If you read the speech, you will see that he recites numerous instances of voter fraud but never admits that his campaign lost 60 or more cases in state and federal courts because they were unable to supply evidence of voter fraud. Not even the judges he appointed agreed with his claims of voter fraud, nor did Attorney General Bill Barr, nor did Christopher Krebs, director of Cybersecurity for the Officeof Homeland Security, fired by Trump after he said that the election was fair.

As the crowd left Trump’s speech, they walked to the Capitol, where Congress was in the midst of certifying the Electoral College vote. The crowd turned into a mob and violently attacked the Capitol Police, stormed the building, broke windows to gain entry, and scaled the building. Once inside, some chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” Others went in search of Nancy Pelosi. They attacked members of the Capitol Police, smashed doors, and forcibly gained entry to the floor of the House and the Senate. One rioter was killed trying to be first to lunge through a broken window into the Senate or House chambers. A Capitol Police Officer was killed when someone in the mob hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher. Dozens of other Capitol Police were injured. The mob breached the House second-floor gallery less than one minute after about 30 members were led to safety.

During the debate about impeachment, Trump’s defenders said his words never encouraged violence and that they were protected by the First Amendment. Read the speech and reach your own conclusion.

TRUMP: Media will not show the magnitude of this crowd. Even I, when I turned on today, I looked, and I saw thousands of people here, but you don’t see hundreds of thousands of people behind you because they don’t want to show that. We have hundreds of thousands of people here, and I just want them to be recognized by the fake news media. Turn your cameras, please, and show what is really happening out here, because these people are not going to take it any longer, they’re not going to take it any longer.1

1 Trump’s speech begins with a suggestion that his supporters — whose numbers he vastly overstates as being in the hundreds of thousands — are “not going to take it any longer.” The speech ahead will be littered with references to the idea that his movement is in a desperate moment.

Go ahead, turn your cameras, please. Would you show they came from all over the world actually, but they came from all over our country. I just really want to see what they do. I just want to see how they cover it. I’ve never seen anything like it, but it would be really great if we could be covered fairly by the media. The media is the biggest problem we have as far as I’m concerned, single biggest problem.

(APPLAUSE)

The fake news and the big tech, big tech, is now coming into their own. We beat them four years ago, we surprised them. We took him by surprise and this year they rigged an election, they rigged it like they have never rigged an election before, and by the way, last night, they didn’t do a bad job either, if you notice. I am honest, and I just again, I want to thank you. It’s just a great honor to have this kind of crowd and to be before you and hundreds of thousands of American patriots who are committed to the honesty of our elections and the integrity of our glorious Republic.

All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by bold and radical left Democrats, which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.2

2 Trump spoke less than two hours before Congress would begin making his loss official But he assured the crowd that he will “never concede.” What’s notable here is that he lumps in his supporters in that posture, also saying, “We will never give up.” It’s important to emphasize here that, once Congress accepts the results, there is no more legal recourse. Trump is urging people to continue a fight that in a few hours will have no method of success through the normal processes.

(APPLAUSE)

Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about.3

3 Another reference to the desperation of the moment. As with some of the above, it includes no reference to the crowd using force — which Trump will avoid throughout the speech — but pitches the moment as some kind of last stand.

(APPLAUSE)

And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal4.

4 “Stop the Steal” is a group that organized this rally and others like it across the country. One of its organizers is Ali Alexander, a conspiracy theorist who has inhabited the fringes of the conservative movement. The name, as with much of Trump’s rhetoric, references the idea that the election is being deliberately stolen rather than that there are simply doubts about its legitimacy. Here, Trump assures his audience that the stolen election “will” be stopped.

(APPLAUSE)

Today I will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election. You know I say sometimes jokingly, but there’s no joke about it. I have been in two elections. I won them both and the second one I won much bigger than the first, okay?

(APPLAUSE)

Almost 75 million people voted for our campaign, the most of any incumbent president by far in the history of our country; 12 million more than four years ago.

(APPLAUSE)

And I was told by the real pollsters; we do have real pollsters. They know that we were going to do well and we were going to win. What I was told, if I went from 63 million, which we had four years ago, to 66 million, there was no chance of losing. Well, we didn’t go to 66, we went to 75 million, and they say we lost. We didn’t lose. And by the way, does anybody believe that Joe had 80 million votes? Does anybody believe that?

(BOOING)

He had 80 million computer votes. It’s a disgrace. There’s never been anything like that. You can take Third World countries, just take a look, take Third World countries, their elections are more honest than what we have been going through in this country. It’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace. Even when you look at last night, they were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off with boxes, and nobody knows what the hell is going on. There’s never been anything like this. We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen.

(APPLAUSE)

Not going to let it happen.

CROWD: Fight for Trump. Fight for Trump. Fight for Trump. Fight for Trump. Fight for Trump. Fight for Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you.

CROWD: Fight for Trump.

TRUMP: And I would love to have, if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed, the military, the Secret Service and we want to thank you — and the police and law enforcement — great, you’re doing a great job. But I would love it if they could be allowed to come up with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them, please?

And Rudy, you did a great job. (APPLAUSE) He’s got guts. You know what? He’s got guts, unlike a lot of people in the Republican Party, he’s got guts, he fights, he fights.5 And I will tell you thank you very much, John [Eastman], fantastic job. I watched — that’s a tough act to follow those two. John is one of the most brilliant lawyers in the country and he looked at this, and he said what an absolute disgrace that this could be happening to our Constitution, and he looked at Mike Pence, and I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.

5 “Rudy” refers to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Shortly before Trump’s speech, Giuliani had called for a “trial by combat” — one of the more overt references to violence at the rally. It is not clear whether Trump was aware of that controversial remark, but here he endorses what Giuliani said.

All he has to do — all — this is — this is from the number one or certainly one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country. He has the absolute right to do it. We’re supposed to protect our country, support our country, support our Constitution and protect our Constitution. States want to revote, the states got defrauded. They were given false information, they voted on it. Now they want to recertify; they want it back. All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.

(APPLAUSE)

And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said, Mike, that doesn’t take courage, what takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage, and then we are stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot, and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen.6

6 This is a crucial section: Trump concludes his recounting of a conversation with Vice President Pence by, again, suggesting that his supporters won’t abide a lack of compliance. Legal experts and many Republican lawmakers agreed that Pence could do nothing to prevent Congress from accepting the certified results of these states, and Pence had signaled that he would not attempt to. But Trump suggests that there is something the rally could — and will — do to halt that.

Many of you have traveled from all across the nation to be here, and I want to thank you for the extraordinary love. That is what it is; there’s never been a movement like this ever, ever for the extraordinary love for this amazing country. And this amazing movement. Thank you.

CROWD: We love Trump. We love Trump. We love Trump. We love Trump. We love Trump. We love Trump. We love Trump. We love Trump. We love Trump.

TRUMP: By the way, this goes all the way back past the Washington Monument. Do you believe this? Look at this. Unfortunately, they gave the press the prime seats. I can’t stand that. No, but you look at that behind. I wish they would flip those cameras and look behind you. That is the most amazing sight.

When they make a mistake, you get to see it on television, amazing. Amazing. All of the way back and don’t worry. We will not take the name off the Washington Monument. We will not. Cancel culture. They wanted to get rid of the Jefferson Memorial, either take it down or just put somebody else in there. I don’t think that’s going to happen. It damn well better not, even though with this administration if this happens, it could happen. You will see some really bad things happen. They will knock out Lincoln, too, by the way. They have been taking his statute down, but then we signed a little law, you hurt our monuments, you hurt our heroes, you go to jail for 10 years, and everything stopped. You notice that it stopped?

(APPLAUSE)

It all stopped, and they could use Rudy back in New York City, Rudy.

(APPLAUSE)

They could use you. Your city is going to hell. They want Rudy Giuliani back in New York. We will get a little younger version of Rudy. Is that okay, Rudy? We’re gathered together in the heart of our nation’s capital for one very, very basic and simple reason, to save our democracy.

(APPLAUSE)

You know most candidates on election evening, and of course, this thing goes on so long they still don’t have any idea what the votes are. We still have congressional seats under review. They have no idea. They have totally lost control; they have used the pandemic as a way of defrauding the people in a proper election, but you know, you know when you see this and when you see what is happening, number one they all say, sir, we will never let it happen again. I said that’s good, but what about eight weeks ago?

[*]TRUMP: You know they try and get you to go, they say, sir, in four years you are guaranteed. I said, I’m not interested right now. Do me a favor. Go back eight weeks. I want to go back eight weeks. Let’s go back eight weeks.

(APPLAUSE)

We want to go back, and we want to get this right, because we’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there, and our country will be destroyed. And we’re not going to stand for that.7

7 Another reference to the immediacy of the moment — including the idea that Biden being allowed to win would mean the country “will be destroyed.” And Trump yet again alludes to the idea that his supporters won’t just let it happen.

(APPLAUSE)

For years, Democrats have gotten away with election fraud and weak Republicans. And that’s what they are. There’s so many weak Republicans. And we have great ones. Jim Jordan and some of these guys, they are out there fighting. The House guys are fighting, but it’s — it’s incredible. Many of the Republicans, I helped them get in. I helped them get elected. I helped Mitch get elected. I helped —

(BOOING)

I could name 24 of them, let’s say. I won’t bore you with it. And then all of a sudden, you have something like this. There is like oh, gee, maybe I’ll talk to the president sometime later. No, it’s amazing. The weak Republicans. They’re pathetic Republicans, and that’s what happens.

If this happened to the Democrats, there’d be hell all over the country going on. There’d be hell all over the country.8 But just remember this, you’re stronger, you’re smarter. You’ve got more going than anybody, and they try and demean everybody having to do with us, and you’re the real people. You’re the people that built this nation. You’re not the people that tore down our nation.9

8 This is a favorite rhetorical device of Trump’s: alluding to the idea that Democrats are somehow tougher and more willing to raise “hell” in such situations. Given how often Trump employs this device, it’s not difficult to read it as implying that he’d like to see his own supporters respond more forcefully — whatever form that force might take.

9 A particularly striking line given that shortly after this speech, Trump’s supporters would storm the Capitol — a deliberate attempt to tear down our government.

(APPLAUSE)

The weak Republicans — and that’s it, I really believe it. I think I’m going to use the term. The weak Republicans. You’ve got a lot of them and you’ve got a lot of great ones. But you’ve got a lot of weak ones. They’ve turned a blind eye.

Even as Democrats enacted policies that shipped away our jobs, weakened our military, threw open our borders, and put America last. Did you see the other day where Joe Biden said I want to get rid of the America-first policy. What’s that all about? Get rid of — how do you say I want to get rid of America first? Even if you’re going to do it, don’t talk about it, right?

(LAUGHTER)

Unbelievable, what we have to go through. What we have to go through — and you have to get your people to fight. And if they don’t fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight. We primary them.

(APPLAUSE)

We’re going to — we’re going to let you know who they are. I can already tell you, frankly. But this year, using the pretext of the China virus and the scam of mail-in ballots, Democrats attempted the most brazen and outrageous election theft. And there’s never been anything like this. It’s a pure theft in American history. Everybody knows it.

That election, our election was over at 10 in the evening. We’re leading Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia. By hundreds of thousands of votes, and then late in the evening or early in the morning, boom. These explosions of bullshit, and all of the sudden — (APPLAUSE) — all of a sudden, it started to happen.10

10 Trump has employed coarse language plenty of times as president, but this line whipped up his supporters like few in the speech.

CROWD: Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

TRUMP: Don’t forget, when Romney got beat — Romney. Did you see his —

(APPLAUSE)

I wonder if he enjoyed his flight in last night.

(APPLAUSE)

But when Romney got beat, you know, he stands up like your more typical — well, I’d like to congratulate the victor. The victor. Who was the victor, Mitt? I’d like to congratulate. They don’t go in and look at the facts. Oh, I don’t know. You’ve got — he got slaughtered, probably. Maybe it was okay, maybe it was — that’s what happened.

But we look at the facts, and our election was so corrupt that in the history of this country, we’ve never seen anything like it. You could go all the way back. You know, America is blessed with elections. All over the world they talk about our elections. You know what the world says about us now? They said we don’t have free and fair elections.

And you know what else? We don’t have a free and fair press. Our media is not free, it’s not fair. It’s suppresses thought. It suppresses speech, and it’s become the enemy of the people. It’s become the enemy of the people. It’s a — it’s the biggest problem we have in this country. No Third World countries would even attempt to do what we caught them doing. And you’ll hear about that in just a few minutes. Republicans are —

(APPLAUSE)

Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It’s like a boxer. And we want to be so nice. We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we’re going to have to fight much harder.11 And Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. And if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution.

11 Another reference to the idea that Democrats, whom Trump previously said would raise “hell” in such a situation, are willing to go further than his supporters. As with much of the speech, Trump’s references to fighting don’t include overt references to using literal force. But he suggests that more extreme measures are warranted and not being undertaken.

(APPLAUSE)

Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down — (APPLAUSE) — we’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol — (APPLAUSE) — and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. (LAUGHTER) Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness.12 You have to show strength and you have to be strong.

12 Trump makes his first reference to the crowd descending upon the Capitol. He says he will be with them, but he did not do so due to obvious security concerns. Trump notably suggests that the purpose is to either cheer on lawmakers who do the right thing or protest those who don’t.

(APPLAUSE)

We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated. Lawfully slated.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.13 Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for the integrity of our elections. But whether or not they stand strong for our country — our country, our country has been under siege for a long time. Far longer than this four-year period.

13 This is the line that Trump’s allies — including Giuliani — have regularly used to defend him against allegations that his speech incited the violence. It is worth noting that Trump directly urged people to “peacefully” make their voices heard at the Capitol. As is often the case, though, Trump co-mingled that with far different messages: The idea that this couldn’t be allowed to happen, the idea that it would lead to disaster, and the idea that Democrats wouldn’t respond so peacefully. And many of Trump’s supporters seemed to internalize that message more than this one.

We set it on a much straighter course, a much — and we — I thought, you know, four more years. I thought it would be easy. We created the greatest economy in history. We rebuilt our military. We get you the biggest tax cuts in history, right? We got the biggest regulation cuts. There is no president, whether it’s four years, eight years, or in one case more got anywhere near the regulation cuts.

It used to take 20 years to get the highway approved. Now we’re down to two. I want to get it down to one, but we’re down to two. And it may get rejected for environmental or safety reasons, but we got it down, the safety. We created Space Force. We — and look what we did. Our military has been totally rebuilt. So we create Space Force, which by and of itself is a major achievement for an administration. And with us, it’s one of so many different things.

Right to try. Everybody know about right to try. We did things that nobody ever thought possible. We took care of our vets. Our vets. The VA now has the highest rating. 91 percent. The highest rating that it’s had from the beginning. 91 percent approval rate rating. Always, you watch the VA. It was on television. Every night, people living in a horrible, horrible manner. We got that done and we got accountability done.

We got it so that now in the VA, you don’t have to wait for four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, four months to see a doctor. If you can’t get a doctor, you go outside, you get the doctor, you have him taken care of, and we pay the doctor. And we’ve not only made life wonderful for so many people, we’ve saved tremendous amounts of money, secondarily. But we’ve saved a lot of money.

And now we have the right to fire bad people in the VA. We had 9,000 people they treated our veterans horribly. In prime time, they would not have treated our veterans badly. But they treated our veterans horribly and we have what’s called the account — VA Accountability Act. And the accountability says if we see somebody in there that doesn’t treat our vets well or they steal, they rob, they do things badly, we say Joe, you’re fired. Get out of here.

(APPLAUSE)

Before, you couldn’t do that. You couldn’t do that before. So we’ve taken care of things. We’ve done things like nobody’s ever thought possible, and that’s part of the reason that many people don’t like us because we’ve done too much. But we’ve done it quickly.

And we were going to sit home and watch a big victory and everybody had us down for a victory. It was going to be great. And now we’re out here fighting. I said to somebody, I was going to take a few days and relax after our big electoral victory. 10:00, it was over and I was going to take a few days.

And I can say this. Since our election, I believe — which was such a catastrophe when I watched, and even these guys knew what happened. They know what happened. They’re saying wow. Pennsylvania is insurmountable. Wow. Wisconsin. Look at the big leads we had, right?

Even, you know, the press said we’re going to lose Wisconsin by 17 points. Even though the press said Ohio’s going to be close, we set a record. Florida’s going to be close. We set a record. Texas is going to be close.

(APPLAUSE)

Texas is going to be close. We set a record. And we set a record with Hispanics, with the Black community. We set a record with everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

Today, we see a very important event, though, because right over there, right there, we see the event that’s going to take place, and I’m going to be watching because history is going to be made. We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity. They’ll be ashamed. And you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never, ever forget that they did. Never forget.14

14 The “very important event” wound up being something quite different than Congress making a decision about accepting Biden’s win.

(APPLAUSE)

We should never, ever forget. With only three of the seven states in question, we win the presidency of the United States. And, by the way, it’s much more important today than it was 24 hours ago because — and don’t — I spoke to David Perdue. What a great person. And Kelly Loeffler, two great people.

But it was a setup and you know, I said we have no back line anymore. The only back line, the only line of demarcation, the only line that we have is the veto of the president of the United States. So, this is now, what we’re doing, a far more important election than it was two days ago.

I want to thank the more than 140 members of the House. Those are warriors.15 They’re over there working like you’ve never seen before, studying, talking, actually going all the way back studying the roots of the Constitution because they know we have the right to send a bad vote that was illegally gotten.

15 Trump is hardly the only politician to use battle metaphors while whipping up his supporters, but he’s certainly taken it to another level. Most notably, he has referred to his supporters as an “Army for Trump.”

They gave these people bad things to vote for and they voted, because what did they know. And then, when they found out a few weeks later, again, it took them four years to devise this great — and the only unhappy person in the United States, single most unhappy, is Hillary Clinton, because she said, “Why didn’t you do this for me four years ago?”

(LAUGHTER)

“Why didn’t you do this for me four years ago? Change the votes, 10,000 in Michigan. You could have changed the whole thing.” But she’s not too happy. You notice, she — you don’t see her anymore. What happened? Where’s Hillary? Where is she?

But I want to thank all of those congressmen and women. I also want to thank our 13 most courageous members of the U.S. Senate, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Ron Johnson —

(APPLAUSE)

— Senator Josh Hawley, Kelly Loeffler. And, Kelly Loeffler, I’ll tell you, she has been — she has been so great. She works so hard, so let’s give her and David a little special hand, because it was rigged against them. Let’s give her and David — Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue.

(APPLAUSE)

They fought a good race. They never had a shot. That equipment should never have been allowed to be used. And, I was telling these people, “Don’t let them use this stuff.” Marsha Blackburn, terrific person, Mike Braun, Indiana, Steve Daines, great guy, Bill Hagerty, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Cynthia Lummis, Tommy Tuberville, the coach, and Roger Marshall. We want to thank them. Senators have stepped up. We want to thank them.

(APPLAUSE)

I actually think, though, it takes, again, more courage not to step up and I think a lot of those people are going to find that out. And you better start looking at your leadership because your leadership has led you down the tubes.

You know, “We don’t want to give $2,000 to people. We want to give them $600.” Oh, great. How does that play politically? Pretty good? And this has nothing to do with politics, but how does it play politically?

China destroyed these people. We didn’t destroy them. China destroyed them, totally destroyed them. “We want to give them $600,” and they just wouldn’t change. I said, “Give them $2,000, we’ll pay it back, we’ll pay it back fast. You already owe $26 trillion. Give them a couple of bucks. Let them live. Give them a couple of bucks.”

(APPLAUSE)

And, some of the people here disagree with me on that, but I — I just say, look, you’ve got to let people live. And, how does that play, though? Okay, number one, it’s the right thing to do. But, how does that play politically?

I think it’s the primary reason — one of the primary reasons, the other was just pure cheating — that was the primary — super primary reason. But you can’t do that. You’ve got to use your head.

As you know, the media has constantly asserted the outrageous lie that there was no evidence of widespread fraud. You ever see these people? “While there’s no evidence of fraud.” Oh, really? Well, I’m going to read you pages. I hope you don’t get bored listening to it. Promise? Don’t get bored listening to it, all those hundreds of thousands of people back there.

Move them up, please. Yeah. All they — all these people, don’t get bored. Don’t get angry at me because you’re going to get bored, because it’s so much. The American people do not believe the corrupt fake news anymore. They have ruined their reputation.

(APPLAUSE)

But you know, it used to be that they’d argue with me. I’d fight. So, I’d fight, they’d fight, I’d fight, they’d fight, bump, bump, you’d believe me, you’d believe them. Somebody comes out. You know, they had their point of view, I had my point of view. But you’d have an argument.

Now what they do is they go silent. It’s called suppression and that’s what happens in a communist country. That’s what they do. They suppress. You don’t fight with them anymore unless it’s a bad story. If they have a little bad story about me, they make it ten times worse and it’s a major headline.

But Hunter Biden, they don’t talk about him. What happened to Hunter? Where’s Hunter? Where is Hunter? They don’t talk about him.

(APPLAUSE)

Now watch, all the sets will go off. Well, they can’t do that because they get good ratings. Their ratings are too good.

Now, where’s Hunter, you know? And — and how come Joe was allowed to give $1 billion of money to get rid of the prosecutor in Ukraine? How does that happen? I’d ask you that question. How does that happen?

Can you imagine if I said that? If I said that, it would be a whole different ballgame. And, how come Hunter gets 3½ million dollars from the mayor of Moscow’s wife and gets hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit on an energy board even though he admits he has no knowledge of energy and millions of dollars upfront? And how come they go into China and they leave with billions of dollars to manage?

“Have you managed money before?” “No, I haven’t.” “Oh, that’s good, here’s about $3 billion.”

No, they don’t talk about that. No, we have a corrupt media. They’ve gone silent. They’ve gone dead. I now realize how good it was, if you go back 10 years. I realize how good — even though I didn’t necessarily love them, I realize how good — it was like a cleansing motion, right?

But we don’t have that anymore. We don’t have a fair media anymore. It’s suppression and you have to be very careful with that, and they’ve lost all credibility in this country.

We will not be intimidated into accepting the hoaxes and the lies that we’ve been forced to believe. Over the past several weeks, we’ve amassed overwhelming evidence about a fake election. This is the presidential election. Last night was a little bit better because of the fact that we had a lot of eyes watching one specific state, but they cheated like hell anyway. You have one of the dumbest governors in the United States.

(LAUGHTER)

And, you know, when I endorsed him at — I didn’t know this guy — at the request of David Perdue. He said, “A friend of mine is running for governor,” “What’s his name?” and you know the rest. He was in fourth place, fifth place. I don’t know, he was way — he was doing poorly. I endorsed him. He went like a rocket ship and he won.

And then I had to beat Stacey Abrams with this guy, Brian Kemp. I had to beat Stacey Abrams and I had to beat Oprah, used to be a friend of mine. You know, I was on her last show, her last week. She picked the five outstanding people. I don’t think she thinks that anymore.

Once I ran for president, I didn’t notice too many calls coming in from Oprah. Believe it or not, she used to like me. But I was one of the five outstanding people and I had to campaign against Michelle Obama and Barack Hussein Obama, against Stacey.

(BOOING)

And I had Brian Kemp who weighs 130 pounds. He said he played offensive line in football. I’m trying to figure that out. I’m still trying to figure that out. He said that the other night. “I was an offensive lineman.” I’m saying, “Really? That must have been a very small team.”

(LAUGHTER)

But I look at that and I look at what’s happened and he turned out to be a disaster. This stuff happens. You know, look, I’m not happy with the Supreme Court. They love to rule against me. I picked three people. I fought like hell for them. One in particular I fought.

They all said, “Sir, cut him loose, he’s killing the senators.” You know, very loyal senators. They’re very loyal people.

“Sir, cut him loose. He is killing us, sir. Cut him loose, sir.” I will never — I must have gotten half of these senators. I said no, I can’t do that. It’s unfair to him, and it’s unfair to the family. He didn’t do anything wrong. They made up stories. They were all made-up stories. He didn’t do anything wrong. Cut him loose, sir. I said no, I won’t do that. We got him through, and you know what, they couldn’t give a damn. They couldn’t give a damn. Let him rule the right way, but it almost seems that they are all going out of their way to hurt all of us and to hurt our country, to hurt our country.

You know I read a story in one of the newspapers recently how I control the three Supreme Court justices. I control them. They are puppets. I read it about Bill Barr that he is my personal attorney, that he will do anything for me, and I said you know it really is genius because what they do is that and it makes it really impossible for them to ever give you a victory because all of the sudden Bill Barr changed, if you hadn’t noticed. I like Bill Barr, but he changed because he didn’t want to be considered my personal attorney.

And the Supreme Court, they rule against me so much, do you know why, because the story is I haven’t spoken to any of them, any of them since virtually they got in, but the story is that they are my puppet, right? That they are puppets, and now the only way they can get out of that because they hate that; it’s not good on the social circuit, and the only way they get out is to rule against Trump, so let’s rule against Trump, and they do that. So I want to congratulate them, but it shows you the media is genius. In fact, probably if I was the media, I would do it the same way, I hate to say it, but we have got to get them straightened out. Today for the sake of our democracy, for the sake of our Constitution, and for the sake of our children, we lay out the case for the entire world to hear. You want to hear it?

(APPLAUSE)

In every single swing state, local officials, state officials almost all Democrats made illegal and unconstitutional changes to election procedures without the mandated approvals by the state legislatures that these changes paved the way for fraud on a scale never seen before, and I think we would go a long way outside of our country when I say that. So just in a nutshell, you can’t make a change on voting for a federal election unless the state legislature approves it. No judge can do it; nobody can do it, only a legislature.

So as an example, in Pennsylvania or whatever, you have a Republican legislature, you have a Democrat mayor, and you have a lot of Democrats all over the place; they go to the legislature, the legislature laughs at them says we’re not going to do that, they say thank you very much and they go and make the changes themselves, they do it anyway, and that is totally illegal, that is totally illegal. You can’t do that.

In Pennsylvania, the Democrat secretary of state and the Democrat state Supreme Court justices illegally abolished the signature verification requirements just 11 days prior to the election. So think of what they did. No longer is there signature verification. That’s okay. We want voter ID, by the way, but no longer is there signature verification. 11 days before the election, they say we don’t want it. Do you know why they don’t want them? Because they want to cheat, that’s the only reason. Who would even think of that? We don’t want to verify a signature.

There were over 205,000 more ballots counted in Pennsylvania. Now think of this, you had 205,000 more ballots than you had voters. That means you had to — where did they come from? Do you know where they came from? Somebody’s imagination, whatever they need it. So in Pennsylvania, you had 205,000 more votes than you had voters, and it’s — the number is actually much greater than that now. That was as of a week ago, and this is a mathematical impossibility unless you want to say it’s a total fraud. So if Pennsylvania was defrauded.

Over 8,000 ballots in Pennsylvania were cast by people whose names and dates of birth match individuals who died in 2020 and prior to the election. Think of that. Dead people, lots of dead people, thousands, and some dead people actually requested an application. That bothers me even more. Not only are they voting, they want an application to vote; one of them was 29 years ago died. It’s incredible.

Over 14,000 ballots were cast by out-of-state voters, so these are voters that don’t live in the state, and by the way, these numbers are what they call outcome-determinative, meaning these numbers far surpass — I lost by a very little bit. These numbers are massive, massive. More than 10,000 votes in Pennsylvania were illegally counted even though they were received after Election Day. In other words, they were received after Election Day. Let’s count them anyway and what they did in many cases is they did fraud, they took the date, and they moved it back so that it no longer is after Election Day.

And more than 60,000 ballots in Pennsylvania were reported received back, they got back before they were ever supposedly mailed out. In other words, you got the ballot back before you mailed it, which is also logically and logistically impossible, right? Think of that one. You got that ballot back. Let’s send the ballots. Oh, they’ve already been sent. But we got the ballot back before they were sent. I don’t think that’s too good, right?

25,000 ballots in Pennsylvania were requested by nursing home residents, all in a single giant batch, not legal, indicating an enormous illegal ballot harvesting operation. You are not allowed to do it. It’s against the law. The day before the election, the state of Pennsylvania reported the number of absentee ballots that had been sent out, yet this number was suddenly and drastically increased by 400,000 people. It was increased; nobody knows where it came from by 400,000 ballots one day after the election. It remains totally unexplained. They said, well, we can’t figure that. Now that’s many, many times what it would take to overthrow the state, just that one element, 400,000 ballots appeared from nowhere right after the election.

By the way, Pennsylvania has now seen all of this. They didn’t know because it was so quick they had a vote, they voted, but now they see all of this stuff, it has all come to light. It doesn’t happen that fast. And they want to recertify their votes. They want them recertified, but the only way that can happen is if Mike Pence agrees to send it back. Mike Pence has to agree to send it back.

CROWD: Send it back. Send it back. Send it back. Send it back. Send it back. Send it back.

TRUMP: And many people in Congress want it sent back. Think of what you are doing. Let’s say you don’t do it, somebody says, well, we have to obey the Constitution and you are because you are protecting our country, and you are protecting the Constitution, so you are, but think of what happens.

Let’s say there are stiffs and they are stupid people and they say, well, we really have no choice even though Pennsylvania and other states want to redo their votes, they want to see the numbers, they only have the numbers go very quickly and they want to redo their legislature because many of these votes were taken, as I said, because it wasn’t approved by their legislature, you know that in itself is legal, and then you have the scam and that is all of the things that we are talking about.

But think of this: If you don’t do that, that means you will have a president of the United States for four years with his wonderful son, you will have a president who lost all of these states, or you will have a president, to put it another way, who was voted on by a bunch of stupid people who lost all of these states. You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen.16These are the facts that you won’t hear from the fake news media. It’s all part of the suppression effort. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to talk about it.

16 Again, Trump pitches Biden’s ascension to the presidency as unconscionable, saying that “we can’t let that happen” — even though it was a foregone conclusion through the regular processes.

In fact, when I started talking about that, I guarantee you a lot of the television sets and a lot of those cameras went off, and that’s a lot of cameras back there. But a lot of them went off, but these are the things you don’t hear about, you don’t hear what you just heard, and I’m going to go over a few more states, but you don’t hear of the people who want to deceive you and demoralize you and control you big tech media just like the suppression polls that said we are going to lose Wisconsin by 17 points. Well, we won Wisconsin. They don’t have it that way because they just buy a little sliver, but they had me down the day before. Washington Post ABC poll, down 17 points. I called up a real pollster. I said, what is that? “Sir, that’s called a suppression poll. I think you are going to win Wisconsin, sir.” I said, “But why don’t they make it four or five points,” because then people vote. But when you’re down 17, they say, ‘Hey, I’m not going to waste my time. I love the president, but there’s no way.’ Despite that — despite that, we won Wisconsin. It’s going to see — I mean, you’ll see.

(APPLAUSE)

But that’s called suppression because a lot of people when they see that — it’s very interesting. This pollster said, “Sir, if you’re down three, four, five, people vote. When you go down 17, they say let’s save — let’s go and have dinner and let’s watch the presidential defeat tonight on television, darling.”

And just like the radical left tries to blacklist you on social media, every time I put out a tweet that’s — even if it’s totally correct, totally correct — I get a flag. I get a flag. And they also don’t let you get out. You know, on Twitter, it’s very hard to come on to my account. It’s very hard to get out a message. They don’t let the message get out nearly like they should.

But I’ve had many people say I can’t get on your Twitter. I don’t care about Twitter. Twitter is bad news. They are all bad news. But you know what? If you want to — if you want to get out a message and if you want to go through big tech, social media, they are really — if you’re a conservative, if you’re a Republican, if you have a big voice, I guess they call it shadow ban, right? Shadow ban. They shadow ban you and it should be illegal. I’ve been telling these Republicans get rid of Section 230.

(APPLAUSE)

And for some reason, Mitch and the group, they don’t want to put it in there and they don’t realize that that’s going to be the end of the Republican Party as we know it, but it’s never going to be the end of us. Never.

(APPLAUSE)

Let them get out. Let — let the weak ones get out. This is a time for strength. They also want to indoctrinate your children in school by teaching them things that aren’t so. They want to indoctrinate your children. It’s all part of a comprehensive assault on our democracy, and the American people are finally standing up and saying no. This crowd is, again, a testament to it.

I did no advertising. I did nothing. You do have some groups that are big supporters. I want to thank that. Amy and everybody. We have some incredible supporters. Incredible. But we didn’t do anything. This just happened. Two months ago, we had a massive crowd come down to Washington. I said what are they there for? Sir, they’re there for you. We had nothing to do with it.

These groups are formed — they’re forming all over the United States. And we’ve got to remember, in a year from now, you’re going to start working on Congress and we’ve got to get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world. We’ve got to get rid of them. We’ve got to get rid.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, she never wants a soldier brought home. I brought a lot of our soldiers home. I don’t know. Some might like it. They’re in countries that nobody even knows the name. Nobody knows where they are. They’re dying. They’re great, but they’re dying. They are losing their arms, their legs, their face. I brought them back home. Largely back home.

Afghanistan, Iraq. Remember I used to say in the old days, don’t go in Iraq. But if you go in, keep the oil. We didn’t keep the oil. So stupid. So stupid, these people. And Iraq has billions and billions of dollars now in the bank. And what did we do? We did get nothing. We never get — but we do, actually. We kept the oil here. We kept — we did good.

We got rid of the ISIS caliphate. We got rid of plenty of different things. Everybody knows, and the rebuilding of our military in three years, people said it couldn’t be done and it was all made in the USA. All made in the USA. Best equipment in the world.

In Wisconsin, corrupt Democrat-run cities deployed more than 500 illegal unmanned, unsecured drop boxes, which collected a minimum of 91,000 unlawful votes. It was razor thin, the loss. This one thing alone is much more than we would need, but there are many things.

They have these lockboxes. And you know, they pick them up and they disappear for two days. People would say where’s that box? They’d disappeared. Nobody even knew where the hell it was. In addition, more than 170,000 absentee votes were counted in Wisconsin without a valid absentee ballot application. So they had a vote, but they had no application and that’s illegal in Wisconsin. Meaning, those votes were blatantly done in opposition to state law and they came 100 percent from Democrat areas such as Milwaukee and Madison. 100 percent.

In Madison, 17,000 votes were deposited in so-called human drop boxes. You know what that is, right? Where operatives stuff thousands of unsecured ballots into duffel bags on park benches across the city in complete defiance of cease and desist letters from state legislature. The state legislatures said don’t do it. They’re the only ones that could approve it.

They gave tens of thousands of votes. They came in duffel bags. Where the hell did they come from? According to eyewitness testimony, Postal Service workers in Wisconsin were also instructed to illegally backdate approximately 100,000 ballots. The margin of difference in Wisconsin was less than 20,000 votes. Each one of these things alone wins us the state. Great state. We love the state. We won the state.

In Georgia, your secretary of state, who I can’t believe this guy is a Republican. He loves recording telephone conversations. You know, that was a — I thought it was a great conversation, personally. So did a lot of other — people love that conversation because it says what’s going on. These people are crooked. They are 100 percent — in my opinion, one of the most corrupt.

Between your governor and your secretary of state — and now you have it again last night. Just take a look at what happened. What a mess. And the Democrat Party operatives entered into an illegal and unconstitution — unconstitutional settlement agreement that drastically weakens signature verification and other election security procedures.

Stacey Abrams, she took them to lunch. And I beat her two years ago with a bad candidate, Brian Kemp. But they took — the Democrats took the Republicans to lunch because the secretary of state had no clue what the hell was happening — unless he did have a clue. That’s interesting. Maybe he was with the other side.17

17 Trump completely baselessly suggests that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) was acting as something of a double-agent. Raffensperger has said his family has received death threats amid Trump’s regular attacks on him. It’s a great example of Trump whipping his supporters up with completely evidence-free claims.

But we’ve been trying to get verifications of signatures in Fulton County. They won’t let us do it. The only reason they won’t is because we’ll find things in the hundreds of thousands. Why wouldn’t they let us verify signatures at Fulton County, which is known for being very corrupt? They won’t do it. They go to some other county where you would live.

I said that’s not the problem. The problem is Fulton County, home of Stacey Abrams. She did a good job. I congratulate her, but it was done in such a way that we can’t let this stuff happen. We won’t have a country if it happens. As a result, Georgia’s absentee ballot rejection rate was more than 10 times lower than previous levels because the criteria was so off.

Forty-eight counties in Georgia with thousands and thousands of votes rejected zero ballots. There wasn’t one ballot. In other words, in a year in which more mail-in ballots were sent than ever before and more people were voting by mail for the first time, their rejection rate was drastically lower than it had ever been before.

The only way this can be explained as if tens of thousands of illegitimate votes were added to the tally. That’s the only way you could explain it. By the way, you’re talking about tens of thousands. If Georgia had merely rejected the same number of unlawful ballots as in other years, there should have been approximately 45,000 ballots projected. Far more than what we needed to win, just over 11,000. They should find those votes. They should absolutely find that. Just over 11,000 votes. That’s all we need.

They defrauded us out of a win in Georgia. And we are not going to forget it. There’s only one reason the Democrats could possibly want to eliminate signature matching, oppose voter ID, and stop citizenship confirmation. Are you a citizen? You’re not allowed to ask that question. Because they want to steal the election.

The radical left knows exactly what they were doing. They are ruthless, and it’s time that somebody did something about it.18 And Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. (APPLAUSE) And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.

18 “It’s time that somebody did something about it” is followed immediately by suggesting that Pence should be that “somebody.” But Trump is yet again alluding to supposedly extraordinary measures that he believes his side won’t emulate Democrats in taking. It’s one of many nebulous calls to some kind of action that Trump’s supporters seem to have taken in a very specific way.

In Fulton County, Republican poll watchers rejected in some cases physically, the individuals whose names and dates of birth match incarcerated felons in Georgia prison, people who are not allowed to vote. More than 4,500 illegal ballots were cast by individuals who do not appear on the state’s own voter rolls. Over 18,000 illegal ballots were cast by individuals who registered to vote using an address listed as vacant, according to the Postal Service.

At least 88,000 ballots in Georgia were cast by people whose registrations were illegally backdated. Sixty-six thousand votes — each one of these is far more than we need. Sixty-six thousand votes in Georgia were cast by individuals under the legal voting age, and at least 15,000 ballots were cast by individuals who moved out of the state prior to the November 3 election. They say they moved right back.

They moved right back. Oh, they moved out, they moved right back, okay. They missed Georgia that much? I do, I love Georgia, but it’s a corrupt system.

Despite all of this, the margin in Georgia is only 11,779 votes. Each and every one of these issues is enough to give us a victory in Georgia, a big beautiful victory. Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country, and not a single swing state has conducted a comprehensive audit to remove the illegal ballots.19 This should absolutely occur in every single contested state before the election is certified.

19 After the violent scenes at the Capitol, a number of Republicans have cited Trump’s rhetoric about a “stolen” election as being beyond the pale and potentially fomenting the violence. It’s worth noting that, while most of them didn’t echo this charge for the past two months, few of them objected to it in real time or cautioned of the dangers it could pose.

In the state of Arizona, over 36,000 ballots were illegally cast by noncitizens. Two thousand ballots were returned with no address. More than 22,000 ballots were returned before they were ever supposedly mailed out. They returned, but we haven’t mailed them yet. 11,600 more ballots and votes were counted more than there were actual voters. You see that?

So, you have more votes, again, than you have voters. 150,000 people registered in Maricopa County after the registration deadline. 103,000 ballots in the county were sent for electronic adjudication with no Republican observers.

In Clark County, Nevada, the accuracy settings on signature verification machines were purposefully lowered before they were used to count over 130,000 ballots. If you signed your name as Santa Claus, it would go through.

There were also more than 42,000 double votes in Nevada. Over 150,000 people were hurt so badly by what took place and 1,500 ballots were cast by individuals whose names and dates of birth match Nevada residents who died in 2020 prior to November 3 election. More than 8,000 votes were cast by individuals who had no address and probably didn’t live there.

The margin in Nevada is down at a very low number. Any of these things would have taken care of the situation. We would have won Nevada also. Every one of these we’re going over, we win.

In Michigan, quickly, the secretary of state, a real great one, flooded the state with unsolicited mail-in ballot applications sent to every person on the rolls in direct violation of state law. More than 17,000 Michigan ballots were cast by individuals whose names and dates of birth match people who were deceased.

In Wayne County, that’s a great one. That’s Detroit — 174,000 ballots were counted without being tied to an actual registered voter. Nobody knows where they came from. Also in Wayne County, poll watches observed canvassers rescanning batches of ballots over and over again up to three or four or five times.

In Detroit, turnout was 139 percent of registered voters. Think of that. So, you had 139 percent of the people in Detroit voting. This is in Michigan, Detroit Michigan. A career employee of the Detroit — City of Detroit testified under penalty of perjury that she witnessed city workers coaching voters to vote straight Democrat while accompanying them to watch who they voted for. When a Republican came in, they wouldn’t talk to them.

The same worker was instructed not to ask for any voter ID and not to attempt to validate any signatures if they were Democrats. She also was told to illegally … and was told backdate ballots, received after the deadline, and reports of thousands and thousands of ballots were improperly backdated.

That’s Michigan. Four witnesses have testified under penalty of perjury that after officials in Detroit announced the last votes had been counted, tens of thousands of additional ballots arrived without required envelopes. Every single one was for a Democrat. I got no votes.

At 6:31 a.m. in the early morning hours after voting had ended, Michigan suddenly reported 147,000 votes. An astounding 94 percent went to Joe Biden who campaigned brilliantly from his basement. Only a couple of percentage points went to Trump.

Such gigantic and one-sided vote dumps were only observed in a few swing states and they were observed in the states where it was necessary — you know what’s interesting? President Obama beat Biden in every state other than the swing states where Biden killed them, but the swing states were the ones that mattered.

They’re always just enough to push Joe Biden barely into the lead. We were ahead by a lot and within a number of hours, we were losing by a little.

In addition, there is the highly troubling matter of Dominion voting systems. In one Michigan County alone, 6,000 votes were switched from Trump to Biden and the same systems are used in the majority of states in our country.

Senator William Ligon, a great gentleman, chairman of Georgia Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, Senator Ligon, highly respected on elections, has written a letter describing his concerns with Dominion in Georgia.

He wrote, and I quote, “The Dominion voting machines employed in Fulton County had an astronomical and astounding 93.67 percent error rate.” It’s only wrong 93 percent of the time. In the scanning of ballots requiring a review panel to adjudicate or determine the voters’ interest in over 106,000 ballots out of a total of 113,000.

Think of it, you go in and you vote and then they tell people who you’re supposed to be voting for. They make up whatever they want. Nobody’s ever even heard. They adjudicate your vote. They say: “Well, we don’t think Trump wants to vote for Trump. We think he wants to vote for Biden. Put it down for Biden.”

The national average for such an error rate is far less than 1 percent, and yet you’re at 93 percent. The source of this astronomical error rate must be identified to determine if these machines were set up or destroyed to allow for a third party to disregard the actual ballot cast by the registered voter.

The letter continues, “There is clear evidence that tens of thousands of votes were switched from President Trump to former Vice President Biden in several counties in Georgia.” For example, in Bibb County, President Trump was reported to have 29,391 votes at 9:11 p.m. Eastern time while simultaneously, Vice President Joe Biden was reported to have 17,213.

Minutes later, just minutes, at the next update, these vote numbers switched with President Trump going way down to 17,000 and Biden going way up to 29,391. And, that was very quick, a 12,000-vote switch all in Mr. Biden’s favor.

So, I mean, I could go on and on about this fraud that took place in every state and all of these legislators want this back. I don’t want to do it to you because I love you and it’s freezing out here.

(LAUGHTER)

But I could just go on forever. I can tell you this —

CROWD: We love you, we love you, we love you.

TRUMP: So, when you hear — when you hear, “While there is no evidence to prove any wrongdoing,” this is the most fraudulent thing anybody’s — this is a criminal enterprise. This is a criminal enterprise.20And the press will say — and I’m sure they won’t put any of that on there because that’s no good and did you ever see — “While there is no evidence to back President Trump’s assertion.” I could go on for another hour reading this stuff to you and telling you about it.

20 Here, Trump alludes to the idea that the election of an American president was guided by a “criminal enterprise.” It’s the ratcheting up of the “stolen” rhetoric, suggesting an expansive and nefarious network of people.

There’s never been anything like it. Think about it. Detroit had more votes than it had voters. Pennsylvania had 205,000 more votes than it had more — but you don’t have to go — between that, I think that’s almost better than dead people if you think, right? More votes than they had voters and many other states also. It’s a disgrace that the United States of America, tens of millions of people are allowed to go vote without so much as even showing identification. In no state is there any question or effort made to verify the identity, citizenship, residency, or eligibility of the votes cast.

The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican Party if you don’t get tougher. They want to play so straight. They want to play so serious. “The United States, the Constitution doesn’t allow me to send them back to the states.” Well, I would say yes, it does, because the Constitution says you have to protect our country, and you have to protect our Constitution, and you can’t vote on fraud, and fraud breaks up everything, doesn’t it? When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.21

21 This is all about the process of accepting the certified results of the states, and Trump suggests that rejecting those results would somehow be constitutional. But he again alludes to the idea that we’re in an extraordinary situation, in which the old rules no longer apply: “When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules.”

It is also widely understood that the voter rolls are crammed full of noncitizens, felons, and people who have moved out of state, and individuals who are otherwise ineligible to vote, yet Democrats oppose every effort to clean up their voter rolls. They don’t want to clean them up. They are loaded, and how many people here are — know other people that when hundreds of thousands and then millions of ballots got sent out got three, four, five, six and I heard one who got seven ballots, and then they say you didn’t quite make it, sir. We won in a landslide. This was a landslide.

(APPLAUSE)

They said it’s not American to challenge the election. This is the most corrupt election in the history, maybe in the world. You know you could go to third-world countries, but I don’t think they had hundreds of thousands of votes, and they don’t have voters for them. I mean, no matter where you go, nobody would think this. In fact, it’s so egregious, it’s so bad that a lot of people don’t even believe it. It is so crazy that people don’t even believe it. It can’t be true. So they don’t believe it.

This is not just a matter of domestic politics; this is a matter of national security.22 So today, in addition to challenging the certification of the election, I’m calling on Congress and the state legislatures to quickly pass sweeping election reforms, and you had better do it before we have no country left. Today is not the end; it’s just the beginning.

22 Trump suggests that allowing Biden’s win to move forward would actually be a danger to the country — again, extreme rhetoric that plenty of people seemed to take to warrant extreme measures.

(APPLAUSE)

With your help over the last four years, we built the greatest political movement in the history of our country, and nobody even challenges that. I say that over and over, and I never get challenged by the fake news, and they challenge almost everything we say. But our fight against the big donors, big media, big tech, and others is just getting started.

This is the greatest in history; there’s never been a movement like that. You look back, there are all of the way to the Washington Monument. It’s hard to believe. We must stop the steal, and then we must ensure that such outrageous election fraud never happens again, can never be allowed to happen again, but we are going forward; we will take care of it going forward. We have got to take care of going back.

Don’t let them talk, “Okay, well, we promise.” I have had a lot of people, “Sir, you are at 96 percent for four years.” I said I’m not interested right now. I’m interested in right there. With your help, we will finally pass powerful requirements for voter ID. You need an ID to cash a check, you need an ID to go to a bank, to buy alcohol, to drive a car; every person should need to show an ID in order to cast your most important thing, a vote.

(APPLAUSE)

We will also require proof of American citizenship in order to vote in American elections. We just have a good victory in court on that one, actually. We will ban ballot harvesting and prohibit the use of unsecured drop boxes to commit rampant fraud. These drop boxes are fraudulent. They get — they disappear, and then all of the sudden, they show up. It is fraudulent. We will stop the practice of universal unsolicited mail-in balloting. We will clean up the voter rolls and ensure that every single person who cast a vote is a citizen of our country, a resident of the state in which they vote, and their vote is cast in a lawful and honest manner.

We will restore the vital civic tradition of in-person voting on Election Day so that voters can be fully informed when they make their choice. We will finally hold big tech accountable, and if these people had courage and guts, they would get rid of Section 230, something that no other company, no other person in America, in the world has.

All of these tech monopolies are going to abuse their power and interfere in our elections, and it has to be stopped; and the Republicans have to get a lot tougher, and so should the Democrats. They should be regulated, investigated, and brought to justice under the fullest extent of the law. They are totally breaking the law.

(APPLAUSE)

Together we will drain the Washington swamp, and we will clean up the corruption in our nation’s Capitol. We have done a big job on it, but you think it’s easy; it’s a dirty business. It’s a dirty business. We have a lot of bad people out there. Despite everything we have been through, looking out all over this country and seeing fantastic crowds, although this I think is our all-time record.

(APPLAUSE)

I think you have 250,000 people — 250,000. Looking out at all of the amazing patriots here today, I have never been more confident in our nation’s future. Well, I have to say, we have to be a little bit careful. That’s a nice statement, but we have to be a little careful with that statement. If we allow this group of people to illegally take over our country because it’s illegal, when the votes are illegal, when the way that they got there is illegal, when the states that vote are given false and fraudulent information —23

23 This is a key section — and one that merits probing. Trump doesn’t finish his thought, but he seems to suggest that he might not be so proud of the people gathered if they “allow” the wrong outcome to happen. Their power to stop it — beyond protesting and supporting lawmakers who fall in line — though, would seem to have been quite limited. Nonetheless, Trump suggests that the situation is somehow under their control, and that they will be judged by the results.

We are the greatest country on Earth, and we are headed and were headed in the right direction. You know the wall is built; we are doing record numbers at the wall. Now they want to take down the wall. Let’s let everyone flow in. Let’s let everybody flow in. We did a great job on the wall. Remember the wall; they said it could never be done, one of the largest infrastructure projects we have ever had in this country, and it has had a tremendous impact and we got rid of catch and release, we got rid of all of the stuff that we had to live with. But now the caravans, they think Biden is getting in, the caravans are forming again. They want to come in again and rip off our country, can’t let it happen.

As this enormous crowd shows, we have truth and justice on our side. We have a deep and enduring love for America in our hearts. We love our country. We have overwhelming pride in this great country. We have it deep in our souls. Together we are determined to defend and preserve government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

(APPLAUSE)

Our brightest days are before us. Our greatest achievements still wait. I think one of our great achievements will be election security, because nobody, until I came along, had any idea how corrupt our elections were. And again, most people would stand there at 9 o’clock in the evening and say, “I want to thank you very much,” and they go off to some other life. But I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened, and we fight. We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.24

24 Another key line, toward the end, urging supporters to “fight like hell” and warning them that failure to do so would be the very downfall of their country. Political rhetoric, yes, but something many of them truly seemed to believe and acted accordingly.

Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children, and for our beloved country, and I say this despite all that has happened, the best is yet to come.

(APPLAUSE)

So we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue — I love Pennsylvania Avenue — and we are going to the Capitol. And we are going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote — but we are going to try to give our Republicans — the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help — going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.25

25 Here’s Trump’s other allusion to walking down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. It’s worth noting that organizers had planned to do this already, but Trump on two occasions encouraged it — even though he had tweeted earlier promoting the idea that the demonstration would be “wild.” Trump was essentially telling supporters to bring the wild scene to the doorstep of American government — and that’s the most generous interpretation.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank you all. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all for being here. This is incredible.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

The Washington Post reported that a leader of the “Stop the Steal” movement collaborated with three members of the Congress.

Weeks before a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, right-wing activist Ali Alexander told his followers he was planning something big for Jan. 6.
Alexander, who organized the “Stop the Steal” movement, said he hatched the plan — coinciding with Congress’s vote to certify the electoral college votes — alongside three GOP lawmakers: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), all hard-line Trump supporters.


“We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” Alexander said in a since-deleted video on Periscope highlighted by the Project on Government Oversight, an investigative nonprofit. The plan, he said, was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.”

After riots inside the Capitol left five people dead — and Alexander and his group were banned from Twitter this week — those three GOP lawmakers are now under increasing scrutiny over their role in aiding the right-wing activist.
In a statement to The Washington Post, a spokesman for Biggs said the congressman had never been in contact with Alexander or other protesters and denied he had helped organize a rally on Jan. 6.
“Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the statement said.


Neither Brooks nor Gosar responded to requests for comment from The Washington Post. But in a lengthy, defiant statement on Wednesday, the Alabama lawmaker insisted he also bore no responsibility for the riot. Brooks added he would not have promoted any action that could undermine GOP efforts to block the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.


“I take great offense at anyone who suggests I am so politically inexperienced as to want to torpedo my honest and accurate election system effort I spent months fighting on,” Brooks wrote.


Videos and posts on social media suggest links between all three Republicans and the right-wing activist.
Alexander, a felon who has also been identified in media reports as Ali Akbar, gained a large following by live-streaming monologues in which he professed his conservative views and support for Trump. Speaking to Politico Magazine in 2018, he called himself an “interpreter of energy for this period.”


In June 2019, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted Alexander’s false claim that Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris is not an “American Black.” The following month, Alexander attended a “social media summit” at the White House, alongside a number of far-right figures who had accused companies of anti-conservative bias.
After Trump lost in November, the Daily Beast noted, Alexander positioned himself as a leading voice behind the movement to support the president’s challenge to the election results. He was labeled “a true patriot” by Gosar on Twitter, and on Dec. 19, the two both spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Phoenix.

“We will not go quietly. We’ll shut down this country if we have to,” Alexander told the crowd, later leading them in a chant of “1776.”


Later on at the event, Alexander played a video message from Biggs, calling him a “friend” and “hero.” In the recording, Biggs said he wished he could have attended the event and vowed to challenge the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.


“When it comes to January 6, I will be right down there in the well of the House with my friend from Alabama representative Mo Brooks,” Biggs said in the recording. A tweet from Alexander, including the message from Biggs, was retweeted by Trump on Dec. 26.
A Biggs spokesperson told CNN that the congressman recorded the video following a request from Gosar’s staff.


By late December, Alexander said he was planning a protest outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. His event appears to be one of at least four competing rallies that had sought permits for that date. But far-right online forums indicated Trump supporters were preparing for more than just a rally — and Alexander, too, appeared to suggest protesters might do more than just wave signs.


If Democrats got in the way of an objection from congressional Republicans, “everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” he wrote on Twitter in December, according to the Daily Beast. “1776 is always an option.”
At a rally the night before the vote, Alexander led the crowd in chanting, “Victory or death!” The following morning, Gosar tagged the activist in several tweets.

Rep. Gosar tweeted on January 6 at 12:51 pm:

@DrPaulGosar:

Biden should concede. I want his concession on my desk tomorrow morning. Don’t make me come over there. #StopTheSteaI2021@ali

Rep. Gosar’s siblings have called for his expulsion from Congress.

Washington Post reporter Kate Newsome and photographer Joy Sharon Yi went inside the riot, inside the mob, inside the Capitol. Newsome was shouted at and vilified by protestors when they asked her where she worked. She told them. “F— you! Fake News!” She maintained her calm.