WASHINGTON- Shocked by investigations and hints of Republican opposition, Donald Trump is giving notice that he will campaign as a political victim while attacking investigators.
“If I stayed home, if I took it easy, if I announced that I would no longer run for political office, the persecution of Donald Trump would stop immediately,” Trump told supporters during a rally Friday night. in Arizona.
“But that’s not what I do,” Trump said. “I can not do this”.
Trump baffled by GOP candidates in Arizona a day later congressional special committee The investigation into the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, concluded a first phase of hearings and announced plans for more hearings in the fall.
Prosecutors in Atlanta and Washington, DC, are also reviewing Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss to President Joe Biden, the inspiration for the attack.
Trump, who plans to campaign for Republican candidates across the country before the november elections and is considering another presidential run in 2024, visited Arizona just hours after a possible opponent in the Republican primary: his former Vice President, Mike Pence.
Speaking on behalf of another gubernatorial candidate in Arizona, Pence urged Republicans to focus on the future and put behind GOP grievances about the 2020 election, a main theme of Trump’s comments just hours later.
During his rally in Prescott Valley, Arizona, Trump claimed at one point that a friend told him: “I was the most persecuted person in the history of our country.”
He later told sponsors, “They want to harm me in any way, so I can’t represent them anymore.”
Presenting testimony and documents over the course of eight hearings, members of the Jan. 6 committee said Trump’s lies about voter fraud in 2020 encouraged supporters to storm Capitol Hill in a failed effort to stop the vote count. electoral votes.
Some witnesses, mostly Republicans, testified that Trump did nothing to try to stop the riots and promoted his claims of voter fraud despite being told by aides that he had lost the election.
In its most recent prime-time hearing on Thursday, the Jan. 6 committee announced it would hold more hearings in September.
Meanwhile, a grand jury in Atlanta is investigating Trump’s pressure campaign on Georgia election officials to change election results in the state.
The Justice Department is also investigating the January 6 insurrection. That investigation could concern Trump and his actions around the riots, as highlighted by the congressional committee.
“The mob was accomplishing President Trump’s purpose, so of course he didn’t intervene,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, one of two Republicans on the congressional panel.
Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming., the other Republican member of the panel, has urged Republicans and other Americans to outdo Trump: “Can any position of authority in our great country be entrusted to a president who is willing to make the decisions that Donald Trump made? during the violence of January 6? nation again?
Cheney, facing a tough Republican primary next month against a Trump-backed candidate, has not ruled out a presidential bid of his own in 2024, either as a Republican or an independent.
Trump vs. Pence
Another likely 2024 Republican candidate, Pence, campaigned in Arizona urging Republicans to get over the 2020 protests.
“If the GOP gets consumed by yesterday’s grievances, we will lose,” Pence tweeted during his trip to Arizona. “But if we come together, keep our eyes on the ball and focus on the future, we will not only win the next election, we will change the course of American history for generations!”
Pence spoke at events for Republican gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson. Trump endorses another candidate in the Republican primary on August 2, Kari Lake.
On Friday, Trump spoke on behalf of several Republicans, including Lake, Senate candidate Blake Masters, and other congressional and statewide candidates.
Trump also attacked Arizona Republicans who opposed him in his election protest. That group included outgoing Governor Doug Ducey and State House Speaker Rusty Bowerswho testified at one of the congressional hearings on January 6.
The Department of Justice:Merrick Garland: Nothing to stop investigating Trump or anyone else for the January 6 attack
Arizona is a repeat of a power struggle between Trump and Pence in Georgia back in May.
Pence endorsed current Governor Brian Kemp. Trump, angry at Kemp because he refused to endorse his election protest, recruited a main challenger, former Sen. David Perdue.
Kemp won the primary handily.
Trump and Pence will be very close again next week in Washington, DC
The former president is scheduled to speak Tuesday at an “America First Agenda Summit.” The event is sponsored by the America First Policy Institute, an organization that includes many former Trump administration officials.
Trump during the insurrection:This time, it was not what he did. It was the one thing he wouldn’t do when a mob attacked the Capitol.
Pence speaks Monday at the DC-based Heritage Foundation.
Many Trump Republicans continue to criticize Pence for rejecting Trump’s demands to discard electoral votes during a congressional counting ceremony that also took place on January 6, 2021.
Pence, echoing the views of most legal analysts, said he lacked the authority to interfere in the counting of electoral votes. But many of the rioters threatened Pence when they stormed the US Capitol, another major issue during the committee’s Jan. 6 hearings.
‘They have done a lot of damage’
Many early polls show Trump leading the field in the 2024 Republican primary, but several GOP analysts said the ratings and investigations have hurt his popularity. The only question, they said, is how much of an impact they will have on the Republican voters who will ultimately decide the nomination.
Republican strategist Liz Mair said a growing number of Republican political consultants, donors and voters believe Trump is a “tainted product” and are looking to alternatives like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the wake of the hearings.
“They have done a lot of damage,” he said.
Republican strategist Scott Jennings said Trump likely remains the front-runner for the nomination, but that he is “not invincible.”
“There is a growing group of Republicans who voted for him twice, gave him money, knocked on doors and defended him every step of the way and conclude that he might as well lose again to Joe Biden (or worse),” Jennings said.
Republicans “don’t want to litigate again in 2020,” Jennings said, they just want to beat Biden and the Democrats.
Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College, said Trump can still win the Republican nomination, but the general election could be a different matter, especially if Trump is indicted for crimes.
“Most Republicans are not paying attention to the hearings,” Pitney said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump Campaigns in Arizona as Jan. 6 Committee Investigation Intensifies