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Trump cancels Jan. 6 news conference at Mar-a-Lago, blames news media and House committee investigating attack on Capitol

A scene outside the Capitol in Washington after Trump supporters breached the building on Jan. 6, 2021.
A scene outside the Capitol in Washington after Trump supporters breached the building on Jan. 6, 2021. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Former president Donald Trump has canceled the news conference he planned to hold on Jan. 6 to mark the first anniversary of the attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

In a statement released Tuesday by his Save America PAC, Trump blamed the media and the bipartisan congressional committee that is investigating the attack. Trump’s lawyers are fighting the panel’s efforts to obtain his records.

“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!” Trump said.

The Jan. 6 committee: What it has done and where it is headed

The former president had been planning to speak at his private Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida on Thursday night.

Committee members said on Jan. 2 that they had "firsthand testimony" confirming former president Donald Trump watched the Capitol riot on TV as it unfolded. (Video: The Washington Post)

According to a person familiar with the matter, Trump wanted to make a scene and deride reporters at the event but had been told repeatedly by his advisers that it could be the kind of coverage he doesn’t want. Trump also did not know exactly what he wanted his message to be, and his team was taken aback by how many reporters were planning on attending, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

“It was going to be awful, awful press,” a Trump adviser said. The adviser, who was not authorized to speak publicly about deliberations surrounding the event, said Trump had originally announced the news conference on a lark and without a plan in place.

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was launched by a mob trying to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win. It resulted in five deaths and injured about 140 members of law enforcement.

In his statement, Trump perpetuated his widely debunked claim that the 2020 election was stolen, the false allegation that spurred many of his supporters to invade the Capitol.

“This is the Democrats’ Great Cover-Up Committee and the Media is complicit,” Trump said, adding, “Why is the primary reason for the people coming to Washington D.C., which is the fraud of the 2020 Presidential Election, not the primary topic of the Unselect Committee’s investigation? This was, indeed, the Crime of the Century.”

In recent days, some Senate Republicans had voiced unease about Trump’s plans for a news conference on the anniversary of the attack.

“Hopefully his comments will be helpful, not harmful,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters Tuesday.

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