Trump Returns To Scene Of Attempted Coup For First Time Since Leaving Office

In a speech to a nonprofit group that his PAC gave $1 million to, Trump re-ups his lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
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WASHINGTON ― The country’s only president to have attempted a coup to remain in power made his first return to the nation’s capital since leaving office, where he renewed the lies about a stolen election that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on American democracy.

“It was catastrophe, that election. A disgrace to our country,” Donald Trump said Tuesday, and then he repeated his falsehood that he had won reelection in 2020. “I ran the first time and I won, and I ran a second time, and I did much better, got millions and millions of more votes.… It’s a very sad thing.”

Trump spoke for 91 minutes at a conference of the America First Policy Institute, a nonprofit founded by his former aides and which received a $1 million grant from his own “leadership” political action committee. It was his first visit to Washington since he left the White House the morning of Jan. 20, 2021, a few hours before the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden.

Just over a mile away from the Marriott Marquis hotel, the site of the two-day conference that featured former Trump administration officials and other pro-Trump voices, is the Ellipse, the park just south of the White House where Trump staged his pre-insurrection rally. There, he incited the last-gasp part of his coup attempt, an effort to use his angry mob to pressure his vice president and Congress into letting Trump remain in power.

That pressure campaign, as well as the related work to send slates of fake Trump electoral votes from six states narrowly won by Biden to the National Archives, is now under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice. The attempt to do this in Georgia is also under investigation by the district attorney in Fulton County, who is also examining Trump’s attempt to coerce state election officials into “finding” 11,780 nonexistent votes for him, just enough to flip the state from Biden to Trump.

A video of former President Donald Trump is displayed on a screen during a hearing Thursday of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
A video of former President Donald Trump is displayed on a screen during a hearing Thursday of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

Trump’s speech on Tuesday focused on violent crime, painting a portrait of a nation where no one is safe, thanks to Democratic mayors and governors who support criminals instead of police.

“Our country is going to hell, and it’s going to hell very fast,” he said. “There should be a squad car on every corner, if that’s what it takes…. We’re a war zone.”

He advocated the death penalty for drug dealers and putting homeless people into shelters, mental hospitals or, if need be, jails.

“Right now, they’re putting homeless in super luxury hotels,” he said.

He complained about the homeless encampments he saw as he arrived in Washington as well as the litter on the roads. “It is not recognizable what has happened,” he said.

Trump then stopped reading from his teleprompter to talk about the need to protect women’s sports from people whose sex was assigned as male at birth, and then he closed out by going through a list of policies Republicans should pursue on trade, immigration and voting systems ― again repeating his false claims about the 2020 election.

“Our goal should be same-day voting with only paper ballots,” he said.

He said he looked forward to giving more “policy” speeches, then went back off script and complained about the investigation of Russian connections to his 2016 campaign and his two impeachments in Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House.

“She impeached me twice just because she had the votes,” he said.

In fact, Trump’s campaign was investigated because he knowingly accepted help from Russian spies in 2016. He was impeached in 2020 because he tried to extort Ukraine into helping his 2020 reelection campaign, holding $391 million of military aid hostage, and he was impeached in 2021 because of the insurrection he incited as part of his coup attempt.

Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol led to the deaths of five people, including one police officer, injuries to 140 more officers and four police suicides.

Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.

In statements on his personal social media platform, Trump has continued to lie about the election and the Jan. 6 House select committee’s work, calling it a “hoax” similar to the Russian aid and Ukraine extortion investigations.

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