At the Ellipse in front of the White House, President Trump delivered an approximately hour-long speech to an impressive crowd of supporters not long before the U.S. Capitol riot. In the aftermath of the riot, and amid accusations that culminated in an article of impeachment from the House of Representatives, he defended himself. Speaking before Air Force One at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, President Trump affirmed, “So if you read my speech — and many people have done it, and I’ve seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television — it’s been analyzed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate.”
The speech runs to over 11,500 words. For your convenience, and given that 1) the debate about impeachment/conviction proceeds and 2) I have failed to find an equivalent reproduction, I present an approximately 1,500-word synopsis of the speech. Links are provided in-text to contextualize or augment certain statements.
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
(c) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
President Trump began his speech with a criticism of the media and big tech, calling the former “[the] single biggest problem.” He accused the media of rigging the election “like they have never rigged an election before” and commended the “hundreds of thousands of American patriots” who gathered to uphold the honesty of American elections and the republic. Accusations of a stolen election continued with a critical word toward “emboldened radical left Democrats” and the assertion that “[w]e will never give up. We will never concede… You don’t concede where there’s theft involved.”
To substantiate his claim about winning “by a landslide”, he referenced the number of votes he earned in 2016 versus the number of votes he earned in 2020 – a difference of about 12 million. Regarding Former Vice President/President-elect Biden’s 80 million votes, President Trump called them “computer votes” and declared the election a “disgrace”, and assessed that the elections in Third World countries “are more honest than what we have been going through in this country.” He contended that Vice President Pence could reject the electoral votes so that states would re-certify and “we become president.”
President Trump thanked his supporters for their “extraordinary love for this amazing country [and] this amazing movement.” A slight detour focused on the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and other monuments, and his commitments to keep them standing. Returning to the first point, he called the gathering of the supporters in Washington, D.C., an effort to “save our democracy” and praised the work of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Back to the claim of election fraud, President Trump heralded the pandemic as a tool to “[defraud] the people in a proper election.” He disparaged “weak” and “pathetic” Republicans who have allowed Democrats to commit election fraud with impunity. He applauded his “stronger…smarter” Republican supporters who were “the people that built this nation.” The Democrats he blamed for tearing the nation down through outsourcing, military cuts, open borders, and ridding of America-first policy. Via “the China virus and the scam of mail-in ballots”, the Democrats stole the election, which, President Trump claimed, “[e]verybody knows.” He repeated oft-referenced speculation that after 10 pm on November 3 there were “explosions of [expletive]” and “it started to happen.” As a result, President Trump said that the world now says that “we don’t have free and fair elections.”
(c) Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Backtracking, President Trump lamented the lack of a “free and fair press.” He argued that “[n]o Third World countries would even attempt to do what we caught them doing.” The problem with Republicans, he said, was that “we want to be so nice…so respectful of everybody, including bad people.” Victory would require that Republicans fight harder. He directed that they would walk down to the Capitol and demand that Congress “do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated”, taking back the country through strength. He encouraged the supporters to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
Next, President Trump listed some of the accomplishments of his administration, including “the greatest economy in history”, a rebuilding of the military, “the biggest tax cuts in history”, Space Force, and a boost in Veterans Affairs approval rating. He concluded these points with this evaluation: “We’ve done things like nobody’s ever thought possible, and that’s part of the reason that many people don’t like us because we’ve done too much. But we’ve done it quickly.”
He called this counting of votes a “very important event”, as it would show whether the American leaders were “great and courageous” or worthy of eternal shame. President Trump speculated that this election had been four years in the making, since Hillary Clinton lost to him in 2016. He thanked the “13 most courageous members of the U.S. Senate”, including Ted Crus and Kelly Loeffler.
With little transition, President Trump talked briefly about the second stimulus package, which originally had stimulus checks of $600, though he advocated for $2,000.
Returning to the election fraud discussion, President Trump called the media out for their “outrageous lie that there was no evidence of widespread fraud.” He criticized the media coverage of the negative of his administration and the suppression of Hunter Biden’s laptop and Ukraine stories. “No,” he said, “we have a corrupt media. They’ve gone silent… dead.” Despite what the media will tell you, President Trump claimed that “we’ve amassed overwhelming evidence about a fake election.” He went on to name a few of the senators who he has endorsed, and the opposition of an unspecified “[t]hey all” to one individual. There was mention of claims that he controlled three Supreme Court justices like puppets, which he repudiated considering that “they [the Supreme Court] rule against me so much.”
Donald Trump takes questions during a press briefing about the coronavirus on March 19, 2020.
(c) Evan Vucci /AP Photo
President Trump named, among his evidence of a fake election, the decision of Democratic state and local officials in every swing state to make “illegal and unconstitutional changes to election procedures” with state legislature approval. He claimed that Pennsylvania had 205,000 more ballots than people – ballots that emerged from somebody’s imagination – that 8,000 Pennsylvania ballots were from deceased voters, and that 14,000 ballots were from out-of-state voters. These facts, President Trump stated, won’t be reported by the “fake news media”, as they are “part of the suppression effort.” He said that a “real pollster” called the Washington Post/ABC poll showing him 17 points down in Wisconsin a “suppression poll.”
His discussion about media suppression rolled over to social media suppression, Twitter in particular, which he said has flagged his posts “every time… even if it’s totally correct.” He drew attention to supposed shadowbans on conservatives and Republicans on social media, and called for the revocation of Section 230, which I further explored in another post.
President Trump invited the weak Republicans to leave so that the strong ones could enact actual change. Another detour condemned school – public school, I assume – for “indoctrinat[ing] your children” as part of a “comprehensive assault on our democracy.” He vowed that a year from then, work would start in Congress to rid the government of “the Liz Cheneys of the world”, referring to the House GOP Conference Chair.
Skimming over some Afghanistan, Iraq, and ISIS information, President Trump returns to the election, this time focusing on “corrupt Democrat-run cities” in Wisconsin, where he said that 500 illegal drop boxes collected at least 91,000 unlawful votes. Moreover, more than 170,000 absentee votes were received without a valid absentee ballot application. The votes “came in duffel bags” and, at the Post Office, postal workers “illegally backdate[d] approximately 100,000 ballots.” In Georgia, Fulton County “won’t let us [verify signatures]”, which suggested to President Trump that the county was hiding election corruption.
President Trump implored Vice President Pence to “stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you.” He took up the Fulton County narrative again with accounts of Republican poll watchers being rejected and election officials pulling out suitcases of ballots. Charges leveled against Pennsylvania regarding election fraud were similarly leveled against Georgia as well as Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan. Regarding Dominion Voting Systems, President Trump quoted Senator William Ligon of the Georgia Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, who said, “The Dominion voting machines employed in Fulton County had an astronomical and astounding 93.67% error rate.”
“The Republicans have to get tougher,” President Trump said after this reading of election fraud. He claimed that “[i]t is also widely understood that the voter rolls are crammed full of noncitizens, felons and people who have moved out of state, and individuals who are otherwise ineligible to vote”, which Democrats don’t want to clean. He declared the election fraud “a matter of national security”, not just domestic politics. He celebrated that “we [have] built the greatest political movement in the history of our country.” In the coming years, he imagined the imposition of IDs and proof of American citizenship to vote, the regulation and investigation of tech monopolies, and continued draining of the Washington swamp.
President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Henderson, Nevada, on Sunday. (Roger Kisby/Bloomberg)
President Trump estimated that 250,000 patriots were in attendance at his speech. “We are the greatest country on Earth, and we are headed and we’re headed in the right direction,” he proclaimed. After a short bit on the wall on the Mexican border, President Trump assured the audience, “[W]e have truth and justice on our side. We have a deep and enduring love for America in our hearts. We love our country.” Referencing again the election fraud, he pushed that “[w]e fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
“[W]e’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… and we are going to go to the Capitol,” President Trump concluded. “And we are going to try and give… our [weak] Republicans… the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.”