Trump clings to false election claims at Arizona rally

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Former President Donald Trump on Saturday sought to lend credence to the partisan audit of presidential ballots cast in Arizona, holding his first rally there since the 2020 election.

Speaking in Phoenix at a Turning Point Action gathering, Trump hailed what he called Arizona Senate Republicans' “full forensic audit” of results in Maricopa County, while continuing to promulgate baseless conspiracy theories about the election he lost to Joe Biden.

“I predict when the votes come in … I think they’re going to be so horrible. They will be, in my opinion, the results will be so outrageous,” he said, promising to continue the fight in further politically driven audits across the country.

“This is only the beginning of the irregularities,” he insisted, reeling off a litany of polling grievances, none of which his team of lawyers was able to substantiate in court after the election. “We’re not talking about Arizona any more. We’re talking about the United States of America.”

The Republican-controlled Maricopa County government has strongly opposed the review conducted by a company called Cyber Ninjas, whose founder has backed Trump’s claims of a stolen election.

Trump repeatedly praised the efforts of the Arizona Senate’s audit, as he has done previously in a stream of press releases issued from his private post-presidency residence in Mar-a-Lago. “You’ve created a movement all over the country,” Trump said.

“I’m hearing Texas wants to do a forensic audit,” he said, bizarrely citing a state he won handily, alongside ongoing efforts to cast doubt on the the long-settled vote in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Previous speakers including Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko and Paul Gosar largely echoed Trump's remarks about election fraud.

He cast further doubt on the results of the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election, while touting his own popularity and prospects should he decide to run. At one point Trump falsely intimated he could return as president before the next presidential election.

In lengthy diatribes on his loss, he blamed Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former Vice President Mike Pence and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while defending the actions of his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

“Like it or not we are becoming a Communist county,” he said, targeting the media over its coverage of Biden and his son, Hunter, during the election.

In a largely familiar speech, he hit Biden on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that runs from Russia to Germany by way of Ukraine. He touted his administration’s actions on Covid, but did not advocate for vaccinations.

In particular, the former president's remarks on his former vice president garnered a loud chorus of boos from his supporters.

“I only wish that my friend Mike Pence had that additional courage to send the results back to the legislatures,” Trump said of Pence certifying his election loss.

The booing was perhaps only matched by that which followed Trump's hyping of the "woke" U.S. women's soccer team's recent loss in the Olympics to Sweden.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misstated who hosted the event. Turning Point Action held the rally.

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