President Trump on Wednesday thanked a large crowd of supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., for their support and encouraged Vice President Mike Pence to "do the right thing" by contesting the 2020 presidential results that Congress will attempt to certify later in the day.
"I hope Mike does the right thing ... because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we will win the election," Trump told the crowd outside the White House, many of them in the signature red MAGA hats and caps. The supporters are people who built the nation, not those who tore it down, Trump said.
Throughout his speech on the chilly January morning, Trump recapped his administration's achievements, and emphasized the theme of election fraud.
"Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy," Trump said, noting: "We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated."
Referencing his own and previous administrations, Trump described an ongoing challenge to the nation. "Our country has been under siege for a long time," Trump said. He spoke in detail about what happened on election night, delineating how votes were counted, processed, and adjudicated, describing what he said were switched votes and "fraud that took place in every state."
Stating that election fraud is a matter of national security, Trump called on Congress to pass sweeping election reforms, including staunch requirements for voter identification and proof of American citizenship.
The day began will ralliers chanting of "stop the steal."
"We are here to save the Republic," said speaker Amy Kremer, who leads Women for America First. "We're here to stop the steal."
Kremer and others leading the rallies maintain that the 2020 election was riddled with fraudulent vote counts, and that Donald Trump, not Joe Biden, is the rightful winner.
The crowd intermittently punctuated Kremer's comments with chants echoing her remarks.
"There's a lot of energy, a real spirit of support for our cause," said Andrew Carson of Pittsburgh, who arrived in town Tuesday night. "It feels like we're part of something big and important."
"It's like a football championship down here," one rally-goer told Just the News. "Everyone is ramped up and excited."
"It's cold and it's winter and there's nowhere else I would think of being today," said Janice Adams, who drove into town with friends Monday night from Cleveland. "I am making my views very, very clear. This is a stolen election."
The day's events are staged throughout the city Jan. 6. They include the Freedom Rally, the Wild Protest, the Jericho March, and the March for Trump.
Protesters and counter-protesters are expected to remain in the city throughout the day's events. Police and other agencies are monitoring private messaging channels from protesters and counter-protesters, following a warning from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser that outsiders are headed into town for violent confrontations.