Former President Donald Trump devoted his first rally of 2022 to again claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him and pushing a conspiracy theory that the January 6 rioters were ‘FBI agents.’
‘The big lie is as lot of bulls**t. That’s what it is,’ the former president announced as he arrived at the Florence, Arizona venue, wearing his trademark red hat due to the windy conditions.
While he would hit President Joe Biden here and there – mainly about the COVID response – he kept going back to the so-called ‘big lie’ and January 6.
He questioned the FBI’s involvement in the Capitol attack, voicing a growing conspiracy on the right that rioer Ray Epps was actually a federal agent.
‘How many of those present of the Capitol on January 6 were FBI agents?’ he asked.
‘People want to hear this,’ he added. ‘How about the one guy: ‘Go in there, everybody get in there,” he said, referring to Epps.
‘Did any of these individuals play any role facilitating the events?’ Trump asked.
Trump was supposed to hold a press conference at Mar-a-Lago on the anniversary of the Capitol attack, but advisers and allies pushed him to cancel.
He said the Arizona rally would be his chance to discuss what happened that day.
Trump mainly used the event to air his grievances.
Former President Donald Trump arrived at his Florence, Arizona rally Saturday night and immediately started ripping the media for not reporting that he won the 2020 election
‘The big lie is a lot of bulls**t. That’s what it is,’ said the former president, who was wearing his trademark red hat due to the windy conditions
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell aimed his ire Saturday at Fox News for not supporting the president’s claims of election fraud strongly enough
He complained that the state of Arizona ‘got taken away’ from him.
‘Last year we had a rigged election,’ Trump said.
The ex-president harkened back to the Russia investigation as well.
‘I’m a professional witch-hunter beater,’ he told the crowd.
Trump made only brief mention of the 2024 presidential race, after months of dropping a series of not-so-subtle hints suggesting he intends to run for the presidency again.
‘I believe 2024 will be even more important,’ the former president said. ‘That is the year we are going to take back the House, we’re going to take back the Senate and we are going to take back America. And in 2024, we’re going to take back the White House.’
At the top he did turn to the 2022 races, as he tries to position himself as a GOP kingmaker.
Trump brought Kari Lake, a former television anchor and his handpicked candidate for governor, onstage as he touted her gubernatorial run.
‘If our founding fathers were here today they would be Trump Republicans,’ Lake said.
Lake envisioned Washington crossing the Delaware with a ‘Make America Great Again flag.’
She also pledged that if elected, ‘We will finish you big beautiful wall.’
Trump called the state’s current Gov. Doug Ducey, who stood up against the ex-president’s election fraud claims, ‘a disaster.’
Supporters of former President Donald Trump cheer as he speaks at a Save America Rally Saturday,
He complained that the state of Arizona ‘got taken away’ from him. ‘Last year we had a rigged election,’ Trump said
Supporters of Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake cheer on
Trump – who largely lost the 2020 election due to his laissez-faire COVID response – mostly hammered Biden on his administration’s handling of the virus.
He tried out a new impression of Biden.
‘Remember: I’m going to get rid of COVID,’ he said, lowering his voice.
Trump then pointed out to the current Omicron burst of numbers.
The ex-president also continued to use his racist nickname for the virus.
‘I call it the China virus, is that OK?’ he asked the crowd.
He said his own administration did a ‘great job on testing.’
‘There’s no testing, there’s no anything,’ he said of the job Biden has done.
‘We never even heard the term supply chains,’ he said, adding ‘there’s no merchandise at Tiffany’s,’ the high-end jeweler.
Trump didn’t bring up the vaccines – after getting heckled at a recent event in Texas with Bill O’Reilly after telling the crowd he had received his COVID booster.
Instead he went after the masking of children, telling our crowd ‘leave our children alone’ and arguing their immune systems were so good they didn’t need protection.
‘You know Barron had COVID,’ he noted. ‘And by the time we checked him a second time, it was gone.’
He also blasted the Democrats for ‘locking people into their homes’ and ‘going mandate-crazy.’
Lake caused a commotion wherever she went – traversing the fairgrounds in black stilettos and leather pants and handing out her own branded red hats
The sun sets as Trump supporters wait for the former president to address the crowd
‘Tell Joe Biden the Americans health choices are none of his business,’ he said.
Trump, as he touted his ‘anti-mandate’ record for Covid vaccinations, then claimed that white people were being denied the Covid-19 vaccine and therapeutics.
‘Now they’re discriminating against, and now denigrating white people to determine who lives and who dies. If you’re white, you don’t get the vaccine, or if you’re white, you don’t get therapeutics. It’s unbelievable.’
Earlier this month the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene revealed on their website they would consider ‘consider race and ethnicity when assessing individual risk’ and distributing monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals like Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.
Trump also dedicated time to go after his Republican enemies.
He blasted anti-Trump GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney for being part of the ‘Stalin-ist show trial’ – the House January 6 select committe.
He went after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The two GOP leaders had a falling out over Trump’s false election fraud claims.
Trump expressed joy that Rep. John Katko, a New York Republican, announced his retirement.
Katko, Kinzinger and Cheney all voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachement.
‘They’re falling fast and furious. The ones who voted to impeach,’ Trump said.
Trump supporters showed up in droves in rural Arizona Saturday witness the former president give his first rally of the new year to kick off the mid-term season, where he was joined by several GOP candidates in the state he lost to Joe Biden by less than half a point.
The Saturday night rally kicked off with a full embrace of the so-called ‘big lie.’
‘Who won the election?’ Arizona’s GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward asked the crowd.
She received a chorus of ‘Trump!’ in return.
At other times the crowd was urged to chant ‘de-certify!’
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the president’s most ardent defenders of his claims of election fraud, aimed his ire Saturday at conservative media outlets who won’t fully embrace those false claims.
‘This brings up the biggest problem we face. It’s not the media, the fake news media, we’re all onto them. It’s the conservative media,’ Lindell said. ‘The ones that don’t talk. One of them rhymes with Fox,’ he joked.
‘They’re disgusting. They’re disgusting. They won’t talk about anything,’ he continued.
‘When was the last time you’ve seen anybody on Fox talk about the 2020 election?’ he asked. ‘You’re not going to see it. It’s disgusting.’
Lindell also slammed DirecTV’s decision to drop the right-wing One American News network, which is embroiled in lawsuits over claims the network made about Georgia election workers.
A trio of Republican House members from Arizona also warmed up the crowd.
Rep. Debbie Lesko went after ‘bare-shelves Biden’ and previewed some of the probes Republicans launched should they retake the House in the November midterm elections.
‘We’re going to hold hearings on Biden. We’re going to hold hearings on Fauci. We’re going to hold hearings to uncover the origins of COVID-19,’ Lesko said. ‘We’re going to hold hearings on the abuse happening in the Department of Justice.’
Rep. Andy Biggs also went after Fauci, who worked under both Trump and Fauci.
‘Because when we’re back in the majority I get to see Anthony Fauci right there and ask him some important questions because that man has been a destroyer’ Biggs said.
In the crowd a number of Trump supporters called out: ‘Lock him up!’
Biggs also asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to expel anti-Trump Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the House Republican caucus.
‘I’m begging you Mr. McCarthy, please will you finally expel Cheney and Kinzinger from the Republican conference?’ Biggs said. ‘That’s all I ask.’
Biggs went after Biden too.
‘Can you believe how much damage one deranged, mentally decrepit old man can do in a year?’ Biggs said as he took the stage. He accused Biden of being ‘ingratiated’ with China. ‘Can you just go be president of the Chinese?’ he said, aiming his remark at the president.
Biggs also got the crowd to go a ‘let’s go Brandon’ before he left the podium.
Rep. Paul Gosar, who was stripped of his committee assignments by the Democratic majority, after sharing a video on Twitter that showed Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being assassinated and Biden being maimed, said he was ‘liberated’ now.
Meanwhile the Trump-backed gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake, a former local Fox TV anchor, caused a commotion wherever she went – traversing the fairgrounds in black stilettos and leather pants and handing out her own branded red hats.
Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election fraud was stolen from him will likely be a central theme of the rally in Florence, about 60 miles outside Phoenix. Trump was the first Republican to lose Arizona in 24 years.
The Copper State has become central to the former president’s election fraud fight, where a GOP-led election audit recently reaffirmed Biden’s win.
Trump was previously scheduled to hold a press conference from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot – and the certification of Biden’s win – but abruptly canceled, and promised to talk about the ‘important topics’ at his Florence rally instead.
Duane Schwingel directs people towards their seats at a rally by former President Donald Trump at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds
A person wears a ‘Jesus Is My Savior Trump Is My President’ hat as crowds behind him line up to enter the rally
Trump supporters showed up in droves in rural Arizona Saturday witness the former president give his first rally of the new year to kick off the mid-term season
Donald Trump is heading to rural Arizona for his first rally of the new year t kick off the mid-term season, where he will be joined by several GOP candidates in the state he lost to Joe Biden by less than half a point
Also joining the president will be MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the president’s most ardent defenders in his claims of election fraud
‘In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona,’ he wrote, adding, ‘It will be a big crowd!’
Notably absent from the state will be Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, both of whom have feuded with Trump as they disputed his claims that the election was ‘rigged’ in their state.
On the eve of the rally, Trump put out a statement calling Ducey a ‘weak RINO.’
‘Rumors are that Doug Ducey, the weak RINO Governor from Arizona, is being pushed by Old Crow Mitch McConnell to run for the U.S. Senate. He will never have my endorsement or the support of MAGA Nation!’
Two of Trump’s handpicked candidates – former TV anchor Kari Lake for Arizona governor and Rep. Mark Finchem for secretary of state – will be on hand for the rally.
Donald Trump supporter Jonathan Riches holds a ‘Trump Won’ sign before the first rally of the year
Flags are seen hung ahead of the entrance to the rally
Rounding out the guest speaker list are Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Arizona, Dr. Alveda King, a niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. who served on Trump’s 2020 advisory committee and Boris Epshteyn, an adviser to Trump’s 2020 campaign.
The January 15 rally coincides with Martin Luther King’s birthday, and falls two days before MLK Day. The King family will be in Phoenix holding a rally that same day pushing for federal voting rights protections, bills that Trump doesn’t support.
Trump is also likely to bask in Biden’s failures this week, where a new Quinnipiac poll found his job approval at a new low of 33%, as so far Democrats have failed to pass legislation to expand voting rights in the Senate after months of back-and-forth talks on his landmark Build Back Better bill also fell through.
Biden on Friday admitted to ‘disappointment’ as his agenda stalls in the Senate after a trip to Capitol Hill to beg moderate Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to get on board with the filibuster reform needed to push through voting rights.
‘There’s a lot of talk about disappointments and things we haven’t gotten done,’ he noted. ‘We’re gonna get a lot of them done, I might add,’ the president added.
Lindell, meanwhile, is sure to talk about his claims that he has enough voter fraud evidence to put nearly the entire population of the U.S. in prison.
‘We already have all the pieces of the puzzle. When you talk about evidence, we have enough evidence to put everybody in prison for life, 300-some million people,’ Lindell said during a recent appearance on Real America’s voice. ‘We had that all the way back in November-December, but what we have are these other things that had to happen, which is evil revealing itself.’
Trump is also likely to bask in Biden’s failures this week, where a new Quinnipiac poll found his job approval at a new low of 33%
Trump’s choice of Arizona to kick off the midterm season signals that he will make election fraud claims front and center of his message for the 2022 elections, where Republicans have a shot to take back control in Congress, and could also be the basis for a 2024 comeback campaign for the White House.
The former president has stopped short of formally announcing a campaign just under three years ahead of the race.
GB News’ Nigel Farage asked Trump during a sit down at Mar-a-Lago in December, ‘Why on earth would [you] consider going into that hell again?’
‘So I love our country,’ Trump said. ‘If you love the country you have no choice. It’s not a question.’
‘This is a wonderful, beautiful life,’ Trump said of his lavish existence in Palm Beach. ‘But I like that [being president] too because I was helping people. That’s why I did it and I think you’ll be happy in the future too because that’ll be your next question. You’ll be happy.’
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