In Washington, the big last stand of Trump supporters

Panels “Stop theft”, “God will decide, not your corrupt media”banners «Trump 2020 : Fuck your feelings», or the eternal tide of MAGA red caps: Thousands of supporters of the outgoing president converged in Washington DC on Saturday. A show of force, despite some confusion, several rallies taking place in parallel around Freedom Plaza and the Capitol, in the heart of the American federal capital. Families, supporters who came as neighbors or who have driven long hours, and even representatives of the masculinist and far-right group, the Proud Boys, have gathered to protest against the elections they are considering. “Stolen” and “rigged”.

Read also : “Trump will leave the White House, hammering that victory was stolen from him”

Almost two weeks after the presidential election, and a week after the mainstream American media gave the victory to Democratic candidate Joe Biden, Trump supporters still refuse to believe it. Joe, a 50-year-old engineer from Virginia, wants “to show [s]we support the president ”, and “Denounce the election, which is a scam”, he says. “Many ballots were counted after the closing of the polling stations [c’est le cas à chaque élection, ndlr]. The ballots must all be independently verified ”, he demands, claiming without any proof that “Even the dead have voted”.

Last week, as he returned to the White House after a few hours of golfing, Donald Trump was able to see from his armored limousine thousands of pro-Biden celebrating the Democrat’s victory. This Saturday, as he left to practice his favorite activity again, and he still has not recognized his defeat, he saw thousands of his supporters supporting him. One of the protests was dubbed Million MAGA March, a play on words modeled on “Million Man March”, a monster parade of the African American community in October 1995.

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On Freedom Plaza, a stone’s throw from the White House, representatives of the “Women for Trump” and “Latinos for Trump” parade at the microphone. “Since when did the media decide who wins the election?” one of them asks, triggering boos from the audience against the «fake news». “Do you really believe in the election results?” he continues, the crowd shouting a «Non» powerful. “We have won and we have won largely: we do not accept Joe Biden as President of the United States. Our president is Donald Trump! ” “Four more years! Four more years! ”, chant his supporters. “Mr. President, you have our support and we will never capitulate!”

The self of denial

The results of all states have now been announced by major US television channels. Joe Biden won 306 voters, against 232 for the incumbent president, the reverse score of the Republican billionaire’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. A manual recount of the votes has been taking place since Friday in Georgia, where the gap is very small between the two candidates, but its outcome will not change the final result: Joe Biden has, whatever happens in this state, the 270 major voters necessary to access the White House on January 20, the day of his inauguration.

Melissa, a sales representative who drove from Ohio to be there, questions “The operation of certain machines”, and denounces “Massive fraud to save Joe Biden”. “I will not believe in the results of the election until we have a full audit of the election. If we were able to close our eyes to cheating on this scale, I wouldn’t feel like living in America anymore. It hurts me for my country. ” Then, showing the crowd from the chin: “At the same time, it’s good to see all these people who know the truth, and fight to defend it”.

Read also : Trumpism won’t go away with Donald Trump

“The safest election in history”

Of the thirty or so legal actions, all on minor points, launched by the Trump campaign or their Republican allies, in five states won by Biden (Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania …), none has so far succeeded in demonstrating any fraud or irregularities. Judges have dismissed many proceedings, and lawyers have decided to withdraw from some cases. One of the attorneys representing Trump’s Arizona lawsuit campaign even admitted to the judge that he didn’t “s’agi[ssait] not a case of electoral fraud ”.

Several federal agencies have even directly contradicted the president. “The election of November 3 was the safest in the history of the United States”, said in a joint statement several local and national electoral authorities, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which reports to the Ministry of Internal Security. “There is no evidence of a voting system having erased, lost or changed ballots, or been hacked in any way.”

In a statement to the White House on Friday about the advances in vaccines against Covid-19, Donald Trump seemed, for the first time, close to recognizing the victory of his rival. Before recovering in extremis. “I think time will tell which administration we will have”, he said. A first inflection, after days of asserting that he had won the election. However, he continues to bludgeon, on social networks, by email or text, his supporters with baseless conspiracy theories.

“Biden couldn’t win, that’s a lie”

These take them back at will. Larry and Christie, two retirees from Indiana, denounce the «corruption massive» during this election. “When they stopped counting on Tuesday night, Trump was well ahead, Larry says. Then as if by magic, millions of ballots in favor of Biden appeared! “. A reference to the start of the taking into account of postal ballots, a voting method widely encouraged in most states to fight against the spread of Covid-19, highly prized by Democratic voters.

“Biden couldn’t even fill his backyard with supporters, engages his wife, Christie. This morning there were 50 kilometers of pro-Trump cars to get here, and the same thing has happened in several places around the country ”. To comply with health instructions, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Democrat’s campaign has only held small gatherings. But Christie does not give up: “Biden couldn’t win, that’s a lie.” For her, a victory for the former vice-president of Barack Obama, in centrist positions throughout his half-century of political career, is equivalent to “The victory of communism in the United States”.

On Pennsylvania Avenue, conservative columnist Sebastian Gorka, short and controversial White House adviser, and Boris Epshteyn, Trump campaign strategic adviser for 2020, take a walkabout and respond to YouTube interviews. “We are here, 71 million Americans [le nombre d’électeurs qui ont voté pour le président sortant, ndlr], to tell the president that we are there for him, and that we will not let anyone steal our republic! ”, lance Gorka.

Washington suburbs couple watch the procession pass by holding a large sign «Trump a perdu», which triggers the anger, and the invectives of the demonstrators. “We just wanted to try to rectify all this misinformation, all these incredible conspiracy theories, notes Tom, in his thirties. And remember that we can have confidence in our elections, that our democracy is strong, and that these people, Trump first, must stop trying to destroy it just so as not to offend his ego. ”

Isabelle Hanne Special Envoy in Washington DC

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