Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Washington, DC, on Saturday in support of President Donald Trump’s failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Hundreds of members of the far-right Proud Boys were part of the crowd, according to WTOP journalist Alejandro Alvarez, who tweeted a video of a mass of men chanting “fuck antifa” as they walked past a bus advertising the march. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Proud Boys as a hate group with ties to white nationalism.
The crowd was largely made up of people who refuse to accept that President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated next month. January 20 will mark the start of Biden’s presidency.
Biden won the presidential election with 306 electoral votes, thanks to key battleground states such as Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Trump secured just 232 electoral votes. All states have now certified their vote counts, finalizing the election results.
Since Biden’s victory weeks ago, Trump has refused to explicitly acknowledge his loss. In the hours after the race was called for Biden, Trump said the “election is far from over.”
He’s since doubled down and sought to overturn the results in state and federal courts across the country. The Trump campaign and the president’s allies have so far filed, and lost, dozens of lawsuits in multiple battleground states contesting the results.
And allegations of voter fraud have been struck down and disproven numerous times since Trump and his lawyers presented their arguments. The Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr, who’s repeatedly positioned himself as one of the president’s strongest defenders, conceded earlier this month that neither the Justice Department nor the FBI found widespread evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
The Supreme Court dealt the latest blow on Friday, when it struck down a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to overturn election results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
In the justices’ order throwing out the lawsuit, they cited a lack of “standing,” meaning that Paxton had not sufficiently proved that the state of Texas was harmed in any particular way that could be addressed by the court.
Still, Trump continues to claim otherwise, posting frequently on his personal Twitter account about widespread voter fraud and a “rigged” election. Saturday’s rally is proof that his baseless rhetoric is continuing to resonate with his constituents, despite all the evidence that says voter fraud did not occur.
Photographer Andrew Lichtenstein asked some of the attendees about what had brought them to the rally. Here’s what they had to say.
“I’m here today because I believe in election integrity,” Dylan Quattrucci said, before repeating several false allegations about voting machines and election misconduct, which have previously been disproven.
“Dominion machines are responsible for miscounting thousands of votes, and suitcases were found with thousands of votes in the key swing states,” Quattrucci said, likely referring to a viral video showing Georgia election workers taking out large bins of ballots from underneath tables.
Georgia officials have investigated the videos and determined all the workers were following normal vote-counting procedures, and the bins were full of legal votes that had simply been stored under tables due to the room’s lack of space.
Trump supporters have also accused Dominion Voting Systems of enabling vast voter fraud in the country. In late November, the company tore into one of Trump’s lawsuits claiming “massive election fraud” and called the allegations “baseless,” “senseless,” and “physically impossible.” The company is not a defendant, but it’s mentioned in multiple instances throughout the 104-page Georgia lawsuit.
“I want a full audit of the vote so that we can have faith in free and fair elections in the future,” Quattrucci added, though most states are already required by law to conduct post-election audits, which so far have not found any instances of widespread voter fraud.
“I’m here for liberty, justice, freedom, and the American dream. Biden is going to take all of those rights away,” Scott Schultheis said, incorrectly adding that “Trump won in a landslide.”
Schultheis described how he noticed Trump appeared to be ahead of Biden by 200,000 votes when he took a nap as election results were coming in on November 4. When Schultheis woke up, “he was losing.”
He continued: “Come on. The fraud is so obvious, it’s disgusting.”
In fact, Schultheis was describing a common misconception about how counties count ballots and report their election results. “Fraud” did not make Trump lose his lead — rather, Trump was never technically leading. Though he appeared to be ahead of Biden in several states on November 3, not enough votes had been counted at the time to accurately project a winner.
Trump’s apparent lead diminished as counties began to report more results, which consisted of legally cast votes that went largely for Biden.
In Pennsylvania, for instance, some counties barred election workers from counting legally cast mail-in ballots on Election Day, requiring them to wait until the next morning to begin counting.
Since the batches of legally cast mail-in votes in many states leaned disproportionately Democratic, Biden’s victory only became clear after those batches were counted and reported.