The former president had planned to use the Thursday news conference at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., as counterprogramming for a scheduled prayer service at the Capitol to commemorate the events of Jan. 6.
In a statement, Trump blamed the House select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 riot for the cancellation. He said he would instead touch on many of the themes he had planned to discuss at the news conference during a rally in Arizona set for Jan. 15.
“In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona – It will be a big crowd!” he said.
Trump was expected to use the Thursday news conference to reiterate his false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud, as well as criticize the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers met to certify President Biden’s electoral win.
His remarks were expected to serve as a split screen to a solemn prayer service in Washington that will mark the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol in centuries.
While Trump still commands the loyalty of the GOP and its voters, Trump’s planned news conference stirred anxiety among some Republicans who feared that the party and its candidates could be forced to relitigate the 2020 election and the former president’s false claims of fraud as near the 2022 midterm elections.
But some of his most loyal supporters stood behind Trump’s decision to mark Jan. 6 with a news conference on the 2020 election. In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Monday, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said he welcomed Trump’s remarks.
“President Trump has important things to say on Thursday, on Jan. 6,” Banks said. “And like so many others, I’m looking forward to hearing what President Trump has to say.”
Still, the news conference may have carried some political risk for Trump, who is said to be weighing another run for the White House in 2024. While his baseless claim that he was robbed of victory in 2020 has caught fire among Republican voters, polling shows that most Americans believe that Biden’s victory was legitimate.