Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declared himself the real winner of the 2020 election, disputing the election victory of Joe Biden in at least five of the “battleground” states which he had won in the Electoral College.
The remarks were made to a large group of wealthy Republicans, who traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort from nearby Palm Beach, where the Republican National Committee was holding a meeting for its donors.
The RNC meeting was held only 10 minutes from Mar-a-Lago, and the Saturday night event was the closing address, in which the donors came to Trump rather than Trump appearing before them, signifying his continued dominance of the Republican Party.
The ex-president took the occasion to attack two other top Republican figures—Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his own former Vice President Mike Pence—while his audience cheered its approval.
According to press reports of the closed-door meeting, based on accounts from some of the donors who attended it, Trump went through a litany of states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the five states he won in 2016 but lost in 2020, claiming in each case that the results had been rigged.
He denounced McConnell and said that Pence had failed him by agreeing to certify the Electoral College results on January 6, when a pro-Trump rally ended in the physical assault on Congress for the purpose of blocking the certification and maintaining Trump as a dictator-president.
Trump pledged to support Republican candidates for Congress in 2022 and then in 2024 for the presidency, although he limited his remarks on the presidential campaign to saying that “a Republican candidate is going to win the White House,” without declaring that he would be that candidate.
More significant was his positioning of himself and the Republican Party as the opponents of “Beltway elites” and “the party of the working class.” This signals an ongoing effort to transform the Republican Party into an openly fascistic party that would rail at the “elites” and Wall Street—while of course taking Wall Street’s money hand over fist. Trump has raised more than $85 million since his defeat in the election, giving him a campaign war chest equal to that of the RNC itself.
While half a dozen Republican senators applauded, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida, Trump reserved some of his most vitriolic language for the Senate Republican leader McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao, Trump’s secretary of transportation, who resigned after the January 6 coup attempt.
“If that were [Senator Chuck] Schumer instead of this dumb son of a bitch Mitch McConnell, they would never allow it to happen. They would have fought it,” he said, referring to the January 6 vote by a joint session of Congress to certify the victory of Biden in the Electoral College.
Referring to Chao, he continued, “I hired his wife. Did he ever say thank you?” He then mocked Chao for resigning, saying sarcastically, “She suffered so greatly.” He subsequently referred to McConnell as a “stone cold loser.”
Coming in the wake of anti-Asian violence in Atlanta, Georgia and widespread reports of mounting attacks on Asian Americans, inspired by the anti-China rhetoric of both the Trump and the Biden administrations, Trump’s sneering at the Taiwan-born Chao was particularly significant. He is openly appealing to the most reactionary and backward elements in American society.
Trump also repeated his racist attacks on immigrants, calling them “murderers, racists and drug dealers. He declared, “They’re coming in from the Middle East” across the US-Mexico border.
The ex-president reiterated his defense of his own actions on January 6, when he whipped up a crowd in front of the White House and directed them to the Capitol, where they subsequently stormed the building and temporarily halted the vote certification. Instead, he criticized his own vice president for not collaborating in this attack by blocking the certification.
“I wish that Mike Pence had the courage to send it back to the legislatures,” he said. “I was so disappointed.” Constitutionally and legally, the vice president presides over the joint session but has no power to overturn the decisions of Congress to accept or reject the electoral votes of any state. Trump was expressing regret that Pence—who had backed the lies about “vote fraud” right up until January 6—did not join him in an unconstitutional coup d’état.
The false claims of a “rigged election” are the driving force of the Republican campaign in state legislatures throughout the country to restrict the right to vote, particularly by limiting mail ballots and making it more difficult for poor and minority voters to get to the polls. The premise of this campaign is that only the “right” people should be allowed to vote, in order to get the “right” result.
In reality, there is no evidence of any significant vote fraud in the 2020 elections. Instead, there was massive voter turnout driven by hostility to the Trump administration and its attacks on democratic rights and working people. Within the framework of the American two-party system, this mass opposition to Trump was diverted behind the Democratic Party and the Biden campaign.
While Trump continues to beat the drum for the big lie about the election result, the Democratic Party has effectively shelved any investigation into the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill. That is because it would expose large sections of the Republican Party, who voted against certification of the electoral votes even after barely escaping with their lives from the mob attack. Biden insists on preserving a “strong” Republican Party in order to provide a reactionary anchor against demands by the working class for jobs, decent living standards and a serious fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, a serious investigation into the January 6 coup would examine the role of the Pentagon, the FBI and other government agencies, which either directly collaborated with the attackers or did nothing to oppose them. Biden relies on these same state forces in both his foreign and domestic policies.