Donald Trump hit the campaign trail Saturday in Iowa, the nation’s first state to run for president, vowing to win “for the third time” as Americans marked the anniversary of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by a crowd of his supporters. .
Many watched in horror three years ago on January 6, 2021as rioters – egged on by the ex-president and fueled by his false claims of election fraud – stormed the seat of American democracy in a bid to stop the transfer of power.
In a rambling two-hour speech Saturday to supporters in Newton, Iowa, Asset did not delve into the events of that day, but described those imprisoned for their role in the assault as “hostages.” He said if elected he would forgive many.
Trump mocked the president Joe Bidenhis potential rival in the November elections.
He said Biden oversaw economic decline and caused chaos at the country’s borders, while failing to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I absolutely would have stopped Putin,” he said.
Trump warned of a third world war if Biden was re-elected, adding: “This is our last chance to save America.”
Never having given up on the fiction that he won the 2020 election, Trump declared that in November he would win “for the third time.”
A fugitive leader in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Trump was impeached for inciting insurrection and faces multiple criminal charges for his conduct before and during the violence.
During an evening appearance at a college in Clinton’s hometown, Trump delivered another meandering speech in which he attacked Biden as too old to govern, incompetent and leading the United States to ruin by overreaching opening of the borders.
“We are a failed nation,” Trump said in his hour-long speech.
“We’re going to bring him back from hell,” he added.
Biden, who criticized Trump in a speech Friday, has no public events planned this weekend, the White House said.
Trump leads rivals Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis by more than 30 points in Iowa, which holds its Republican nomination contest — known as the “caucus” — on Jan. 15, kicking off the season primary 2024.
Trump called January 6 a “beautiful day” and made a cause celebre of “great patriots” and “hostages” imprisoned because of the riots.
The false claim that Democratic election theft led to January 6 has become orthodoxy among many Republicans, with congressional hard-liners promoting the fantasy that the chaos at the Capitol was a “false flag” operation carried out by federal agents.
A Washington Post and University of Maryland poll released Thursday found that 44 percent of Trump voters believe the FBI organized and encouraged the riot.
But polls also show that Democrats and independents have a very negative view of the riots and rioters, as well as Trump’s role in encouraging them.
“We will never forget the horrific events of January 6, 2021,” Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a statement Saturday, adding that those responsible “must be held accountable, because in this country No one is above the law.”
Vice President Kamala Harris said on social media that a victory for those “who seek to dismantle our democracy” would result in violence and chaos.
Biden says Trump ready to ‘sacrifice’ American democracy
The House, controlled at the time by Democrats, impeached Trump for inciting violence, linked to the deaths of five police officers and several rioters, although he was acquitted by his allies in the Senate and he denies any wrongdoing.
A subsequent congressional investigation concluded that the violence was the culmination of a criminal plot by Trump to overturn the election. The ex-president faces several federal and state criminal charges related to the events.
MSNBC on Saturday released chilling new video footage from Jan. 6 showing two Republican lawmakers speaking with Capitol rioters who shouted and taunted them through the broken windows of the House doors. Capitol officers point their weapons at the crowd attempting to enter the ground.
Democrats plan to make the mogul’s conduct on Jan. 6 a key campaign theme, highlighting the more than 450 Trump supporters jailed on allegations ranging from seditious conspiracy to trespassing and assaults on police.
In his speech In Pennsylvania on Friday, Biden framed the election as a test of the republic’s robustness and he highlighted the Capitol riot as a demonstration of the threat Trump poses to democracy.
And he accused his predecessor of echoing the Nazis with his rhetoric on immigration, accusing him of being willing to “sacrifice our democracy” to regain power.