Trump announces Jan. 15 Arizona rally as DC preps for riot anniversary
Former President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will hold his first campaign-style rally of 2022 on Jan. 15 in Arizona, nine days after a news conference at which he is expected to relitigate the deadly riot by his supporters at the US Capitol.
The rally in Florence, Ariz., about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix, will be Trump’s first set-piece event with supporters since an October rally in Iowa.
The former president and his backers have made the Grand Canyon State a focal point of their claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from the Republican incumbent. Arizona’s 11 electoral votes went to President Biden last year, marking just the second time since 1952 that the state had voted for a Democrat in a presidential election (Bill Clinton in 1996 was the other).
Earlier this year, Trump touted a GOP-driven review of votes in Maricopa County — Arizona’s most populous — promising that it would produce an election-altering result.
In fact, the audit not only confirmed that Biden won Arizona without the aid of fraud, but found that Trump received hundreds fewer votes than in the certified result.
Despite a marked lack of success in challenging the election outcome, Trump announced a news conference last week by proclaiming that “the insurrection took place on November 3rd” and insisting once again that election fraud had cost him Arizona as well as the key states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan.
In announcing the Jan. 6 news conference, Trump referred to the riot that interrupted the congressional count of electoral votes and led to the deaths of five people as “the complete unarmed protest of the rigged election.”
Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled a program of events that would be held at the Capitol to commemorate the riot, including a discussion by historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, lawmaker testimonials about their experiences of that day, and an evening prayer vigil due to take place at 5:30 p.m., half an hour after Trump’s news conference is scheduled to begin.
The Arizona rally will also take place amid questions about Trump’s political future. The 45th president is widely assumed to be running to regain the White House in 2024, but has said he will not make an official announcement until after this coming November’s midterm elections.