President Donald Trump addressed supporters at a rally protesting the certification of the Electoral College results in Washington, D.C., Wednesday after Republicans lost the U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia.
The president told his supporters that the election was rigged, and that Republicans who do not support his claims of voter fraud or who refuse to object to certifying the results are "weak." Several times Trump put pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to take action to reject the Electoral College votes from several states, sending them back to the state legislatures — a power which constitutional experts and even the vice president himself say he does not have.
Several thousand protesters gathered near the White House to hear the president speak as he told them, "We will not let them silence your voices," referring to Democrats and the media.
"We have hundreds of thousands of people here and I just want them to be recognized by the fake news media," Trump said. "These people are not going to take it any longer."
The president's speech was the main event of the "Save America" rally to protest the certification of the Electoral College results by Congress. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives met in a joint session Wednesday presided by Pence to read the votes sent by several states and certify them. Several Republican lawmakers had in recent days declared their intentions to object to the results from some states where Trump's campaign disputes the results and has made allegations of voter fraud.
"They rigged the election, they rigged it like they never rigged an election before. And by the way, last night they didn't do a bad job either," Trump told the large gathering.
His speech reviewed the various allegations of election impropriety the president's campaign and state Republicans have made over the months since the Nov. 3 election. Trump accused the Pennsylvania government of violating its own state election laws by ignoring signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots. He criticized "illegal, unmanned, unsecured drop boxes" for mail-in and absentee ballots in Wisconsin. Trump also repeated various claims of dead voters sending in ballots by mail, large votes being "dropped" late at night or in the early hours of the morning, and other assertions made in affidavits submitted in the various lawsuits the Trump campaign pursued to overturn the results of the election.
Nearly all of the court cases filed on behalf of the Trump campaign making these assertions of illegal voting activity were either dismissed by courts for lack of standing or found to not have enough evidence to support their claims.
Despite the failure of his various legal challenges, the president continues to refuse to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden.
"We will never give up, we will never concede," Trump declared at the rally. "You don't concede when there's theft involved."
He again urged Vice President Pence to take action to decertify the official results of the Electoral College, insisting that, "if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election."
"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," Trump told his audience.
While the president spoke, Vice President Pence released a statement announcing that he would not act as directed by Trump and refuse to certify the results.
"As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress," Pence said.
https://t.co/8WJbv9A8Lx— Mike Pence (@Mike Pence)1609956145.0
While several GOP lawmakers followed through with their promise to object to the electoral votes from Arizona and other states, the effort was opposed by Republican leadership in the Senate and many Republican senators.
Trump accused those who would not support the effort of being "weak."
"Weak Republicans, and that's what they are. There are so many weak Republicans," Trump charged. "Many of the Republicans, I helped them get in, I helped them get elected. I helped [Mitch McConnell] get elected. I could name 24 of them, let's say, I won't bore you with it.
"The weak Republicans, they're pathetic Republicans," he continued. "The weak Republicans, and that's it, I really believe it. I think I'm going to use the term. The weak Republicans ... they've turned a blind eye even as Democrats enact policies that chipped away our jobs, weakened our military, threw open our borders, and put America last."
He vowed to challenge incumbent Republicans who would not support his efforts to overturn the election in future primaries.
"If they don't fight we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don't fight. We primary them, we're going to let you know who they are," Trump said.
Additionally, Trump criticized the Supreme Court, saying "they love to rule against me," and berated the Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp as the "dumbest" governor in America.
"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," Trump said, before mimicking Republicans who tell him the Constitution does not permit the vice president or Congress to send Electoral College results back to the states.
"You can't vote on fraud. And fraud breaks up everything, doesn't it? When you catch somebody in a fraud, you're 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."