Turns out there’s nothing new under the spray tan either.
Former President Donald Trump stuck to his favorite topics at his Arizona rally: the size of his crowd and false claims that the election was stolen. Within minutes of taking the stage Saturday, after he bragged about crowd size, Trump claimed the “proof is all over the place” that the election was stolen (it was not). “The big lie is a lot of bullshit,” Trump said accurately, though not in the way he thinks.
Trump: The big lie is a lot of bullshit pic.twitter.com/2Aho9ct8MY
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 16, 2022
“I ran twice, I won twice. … We did much better the second time,” Trump falsely claimed while referencing an election he definitively lost. “The people are hungry for the truth. They want their country back.” Encouraging the crowd to vote, Trump told them, “Get out and vote. Make sure it’s not a rigged vote, please.” At one point, Trump pulled Arizona gubernatorial candidate and former news anchor Kari Lake onstage, where she proclaimed without irony that the founding fathers would have supported Trump, the president who subverted democracy and the rule of law at almost every opportunity.
“Look at the people, as far as the eye can see,” Trump said, returning to boasting about attendance. “Way back, I mean, football fields back. … Nobody’s ever had a movement like this. Nobody’s ever had spirit like this or a crowd like this.” Later in the speech, Trump circled back to crowd size, marveling at the number of people at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — lauding a crowd that threatened elected lawmakers who were conducting what was supposed to be a peaceful transfer of power. He then pushed a conspiracy theory favored by Steve Bannon, as well as far-right GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, that the federal government was behind the Jan. 6 violence.
"There's nobody that can see the end of this crowd. And has cars that stretch out for 25 miles. That's not somebody that lost an election." 💯💯💯 pic.twitter.com/i7ZrJZg5nU
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) January 16, 2022
The former president also bashed Dr. Anthony Fauci as the audience erupted into a chorus of “Lock him up! Lock him up!” Fauci, at a congressional hearing this week, spoke emotionally about how his family faces persistent death threats because of the way the Republican Party has demonized him.
Even before the former president took the stage, a parade of cronies warmed up the crowd with religious overtones, a promise to jail Fauci, and unfounded allegations of election fraud. Mike Lindell — the “My Pillow Guy”-turned-election-fraud-investigator — promised that the 2020 presidential election would be overturned. Explaining why Trump hadn’t yet been gloriously returned to his rightful place in the White House, Lindell said that it would happen on “God’s timing, not our timing.” Lindell then made a seemingly impossible claim: that the entire 2022 election will be conducted manually and, presumably, will be hand counted. “I will promise you this, there’s not going to be any election done with machines or computers done in 2022,” Lindell said. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) didn’t make that same promise, but he did inject “Let’s go, Brandon,” into his speech.
The rally, much like the one that preceded it, was a rehash of the Big Lie, the same dangerous rhetoric that encouraged Trump’s supporters to launch a violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, posing a real threat to our democracy. But the attempted coup failed, dooming Trump to holding rallies and feeding his supporters a steady stream of bullshit to keep them fired up for the midterms and his potential 2024 run. After all, supporters will continue to show up and treat him as the god emperor they believe him to be.