Donald Trump’s planned Jan. 6 press conference is no more, and some Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief now that he seems to have realized using the anniversary of a deadly insurrection to push conspiracy theories isn’t a great idea. The former president on Tuesday canceled his event at Mar-a-Lago scheduled for one year after the insurrection, and did so at the behest of some of his most loyal allies — including Fox News host Laura Ingraham and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), according to Axios.
Maggie Haberman of The New York Times added that in addition to advisers warning Trump the press conference would be a mistake, it was “becoming clear he wasn’t likely to get the live TV coverage he was hoping for.”
Trump blamed Democrats, of course, in announcing the speech’s cancellation. “In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona—It will be a big crowd!” Trump said in a statement late Tuesday.
Graham told Axios he advised Trump against going ahead during a golf match over the weekend when he told the former president that “there could be peril in doing a news conference” and that it was “best to focus on election reform instead.”
Ingraham took issue not with the content of what Trump might say but with the timing. “Some things were horrific that happened and shouldn’t have happened that day. … Is it smart for President Trump to do a rally on that particular day, versus next week or the week before?” she asked Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) on her show Monday night.
Some Republicans told Politico on Tuesday that they didn’t believe going ahead with the event was smart. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she wanted to “stay focused on congressional activities,” while Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said he believed the press conference wasn’t a “terribly good idea.” But, he said, “What am I going to do about it?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) added, according to Politico. “I guess it depends on what he’s going to say. But early assumptions are that it’s going to be an aggressive statement. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Unsurprisingly, the press conference was not well planned to begin with. According to a Washington Post source, Trump announced the event without much forethought or planning, and he was advised to cancel when it became clear he would not get good media coverage for it. “It was going to be awful, awful press,” a Trump adviser told the paper.
The cancellation comes as the Jan. 6 committee continues its investigation into the events of that day. On Tuesday, the panel requested voluntary cooperation from another Trump ally, Sean Hannity, whose frantic texts to Mark Meadows were shared by the committee. The texts revealed Hannity’s deep concern about Trump’s state of mind after the insurrection. President Biden is still scheduled to deliver remarks on the Jan. 6 anniversary. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday that the president would discuss “the truth of what happened, not the lies that some have spread since, and the peril it has posed to the rule of law and our system of democratic governance.”