(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump held his first rally of the midterm year in Arizona on Saturday, taking the opportunity to hit President Biden and continue to voice his unsubstantiated claims about election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
In an address from Florence, Arizona, Trump covered a plethora of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, foreign policy and crime.
“They’re incompetent, actually,” Trump said, referring to the Biden administration.
Trump also used the address to attack Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who worked with Trump during his administration as well.
“Biden’s made him the person. He’s like the king. Fauci’s the king,” Trump said, invoking chants of “lock him up.” The comments come less than a week after Fauci accused Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., of putting him in personal danger due to public attacks.
But while he discussed other topics, Trump’s election fraud claims and the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the Capitol played a dominant role in his address.
Trump slammed the House’s Jan. 6 select committee, which he referred to as “the unselect committee of political hacks,” and denounced what he described as the inhumane treatment of those who were arrested during the storming of the Capitol.
“What’s happening to those people in those jails — why aren’t they doing it to Antifa and Black Lives Matter?” Trump said. “Partisan Democrats have celebrated their indefinite detention without trial.”
Trump was supposed to hold a 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 on their one-year anniversary, but canceled it and said he would address the topic at the rally in Arizona.
The rally comes as Republicans increasingly express optimism ahead of the midterms in November. Arizona, in particular, will be a major battleground, with a high-profile Senate and governor race.
“2022, despite so far being a total catastrophe for the country, is going to be a big one for the people of this state,” Trump told the crowd.
Trump has endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, but has yet to make an endorsement in the state’s Senate primary. A number of Republicans are running in the contest, including state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Jim Lamon and Blake Masters, who was in attendance at the rally on Saturday. The former president said he will be endorsing in the primary “at the right time.”
Trump made clear that he would not be endorsing Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who is said to be mulling a potential Senate run in the state. Ducey has faced Trump’s ire since he certified the 2020 election results in Arizona.
“Somebody said, ‘Oh he wants to run for the Senate,’” Trump said of Ducey. “He’s never going to get my endorsement.”
He warned that “weak Republicans” who do not acknowledge election fraud or the situation at the border will be losing elections.
Trump lost Arizona to Biden in 2020. In the wake of the elections, the state’s GOP-controlled Senate ordered an audit of the results in Maricopa County, which found that Biden won the county by a larger margin than the final certified results showed.
Trump did not say whether he would run for president again in 2024 but said that “we are going to take back the White House” that year.
Trump wrapped his speech by predicting that Republicans would win big in November, starting in Arizona.
“A great red wave is going to begin right here in Arizona,” Trump said. “This is the year we take back the House, this is the year we take back the Senate, and this is the year we take back America.”