Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads “Come and Take It,” during clashes with Capitol police at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday canceled an event billed as a press conference that he was set to hold on the first anniversary of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Trump reportedly planned to defend the rioters during the event, which he was going to hold at his golf club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
After Trump lost to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, the former president has repeatedly spread the lie that widespread fraud led to his defeat. On Jan. 6, hundreds of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and forced Congress into hiding, delaying lawmakers’ confirmation of Biden’s win.
The House impeached Trump a week later for inciting an insurrection. The Senate acquitted him.
Trump in recent months has defended rioters who chanted about hanging then-Vice President Mike Pence, who rebuffed Trump’s push for him to challenge the Electoral College results. Pence had a formal role in the congressional count of Biden’s victory.
In a statement Tuesday evening, the former president claimed he was canceling the event due to “the total bias and dishonesty” of the media and the House select committee investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack.
Trump vowed to discuss the same “important topics” at a rally in Arizona set for Jan. 15.
The select committee, tasked with investigating the facts and causes of the Jan. 6 riot, has issued dozens of subpoenas to Trump’s current and former associates.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told CNN on Tuesday that investigators want to speak directly with Pence.
Biden is set to speak Thursday on the attack’s one-year anniversary and highlight it as a threat to U.S. democracy. Democrats in Congress have also cited the invasion of the Capitol, among other factors, as they push for federal legislation to strengthen voting rights.