President Trump addressed throngs of supporters at a rally in Washington, DC on Wednesday, attributing his election loss to “explosions of b—–,” and calling on Vice President Mike Pence to do “the right thing,” as Congress was preparing to certify the victory of rival President-elect Joe Biden.
Saying that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him, he vowed not to give in even as Inauguration Day is just two weeks away.
“We will never concede,” Trump told the cheering crowd. “You don’t concede when there’s theft.
“This year, they rigged an election. They rigged it like they’ve never rigged an election before,” Trump continued, referring to what he calls “fake news media” and social media companies.
“And by the way, last night they didn’t do a bad job,” he added, referring to run-off elections in Georgia deciding the fate of Senate control.
One Democratic candidate, Rev. Raphael Warnock, has already been declared the winner of his race, and the other, Jon Ossoff, is leading in the polls by a tight margin.
Trump characterized large, late influxes of ballots that swung the presidential election against him as “explosions of b—–,” in a line that drew massive cheers from the large crowd.
He called on Pence to fight Wednesday’s certification of the election results in Congress, over which he veep presides as Senate president, echoing requests he has made on Twitter in recent days.
“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing,” Trump said. “I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.”
Trump is speaking from a stage framed by signs for the “Save America March,” at a podium flanked by American flags fluttering in a chilly DC breeze.
As with his signature “Make America Great Again” rallies that became the hallmark of two presidential campaigns, Trump is being met by a sea of supporters decked out in red baseball caps and star-spangled shirts.
His remarks were preceded by a pre-recorded highlight reel of campaigns and speeches through the years, and a playlist heavy on classic rock, including Phil Collins’ ominous “In the Air Tonight” juxtaposed with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
He gestured early in the speech to the Washington Monument, saying his crowd of supports strecthed across the mall and vowing that the icon would not become another victim of cancel culture.
“We will not take the name off the Washington Monument,” the president said. “They’ll knock out Lincoln, too, by the way, they’ve been taking his statue down. But then we signed a little law [saying if] you hurt our monuments, you hurt our heroes, you go to jail for 10 years and everything stopped”
Trump’s rally came as Congress was set to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, which the president has repeatedly claimed are marred by widespread, organized fraud without providing evidence.
Speakers who addressed the throngs prior to the president included his son, Donald Trump Jr., freshman North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, and personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Wednesday’s certification vote has served as a wedge among Republican lawmakers, with Trump loyalists like Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, respectively of Texas and Missouri, vowing to challenge the results, with Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton among those stepping forward to recognize Biden’s win as legitimate.
Trump on Wednesday also took a shot at Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who has said he will not object to the election results.
“I wonder if he enjoyed his flight in last night,” Trump mused, referring to recent footage of his supporters jeering Romney at an airport.
Thousands of supporters traveled from across the nation for the event, with local law-enforcement and congressional security bracing for possible unrest.
A judge earlier this week barred Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the leader of the far-right Proud Boys group, from the nation’s capital, citing accusations against him that he vandalized a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic church and was arrested packing high-capacity firearm magazines.