President Donald Trump repeated unfounded claims of voter fraud Wednesday morning, affirming he has no plans to concede the presidential election.
"We will never give up, we will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when theft is involved," Trump told a crowd of hundreds gathered at a "Save America" rally in Washington, D.C.
Trump was also quick to mention Vice President Mike Pence, saying "if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election." Trump outlined his belief that Pence could send the Electoral College votes back to the states, for the states to "vote again", Trump said, and then "I will remain president."
The rally is taking place just hours, and just a few blocks away, before Congress opens a joint session to tally the results of the Electoral College vote.
While some Republicans have promised to raise objections to the vote, and Trump has pressured Pence to “reject” the results in his role as the session’s presider, legal experts agree that there’s little to no chance that the session will change the outcome of the election.
"Mike Pence will have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, it will be a sad day for our country," Trump told the crowd of supporters.
The president's personal attorney, and attorney for the Trump campaign, Rudy Giuliani addressed the crowd and said what was planned in Congress is "perfectly legal" and that Pence has the ability to reject the ballots.
"If we're wrong, we will be made fools of," Giuliani also reportedly told the crowd.
“If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of,” Giuliani says. He then asks for “trial by combat.” It’s not even 11AM yet.— Matt Berman (@Mr_Berman) January 6, 2021
“To all the Republicans who have not been willing to actually fight, the people who did nothing to stop the steal, this gathering should send a message to them. This isn’t their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump‘s Republican Party,” Don Trump Jr. told the crowd of supporters earlier in the day.
President Trump repeated these sentiments in his own comments to the crowd.
"We’re going to see if we have great and courageous leaders or whether we have leaders that should be ashamed. If they do the wrong thing, we should never ever forget," he urged the crowd.
Tuesday night, as many demonstrators arrived in the nation's capitol, Trump supporters clashed with police. Video from the scene showed officers spraying Trump supporters with a chemical agent. Several people were arrested in the clashes, reports The Washington Postand other media outlets.
Trump has tweeted about the rallies planned for Wednesday, calling on supporters to come to D.C.
In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s rally, officials in Washington have taken steps to curb any potential violence relating to the event.
Time reports that more than 300 D.C. National Guard troops have taken positions near the capitol building, though Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked they not be armed in an effort to avoid the escalation of confrontation.
Some businesses in Washington have also boarded windows with plywood with the expectation that Wednesday’s rally could grow violent.
In December, four people were stabbed at a “Million MAGA March” in support of Trump. The rally also resulted in 33 arrests and injuries to eight police officers.