(AFP) — Donald Trump emerged from isolation at the White House on Tuesday to brand the likely second impeachment of his presidency “absolutely ridiculous” and warn that it has triggered “tremendous anger”.
Speaking as he boarded Marine One at the White House for a trip to Texas, Trump called his scheduled impeachment in the House of Representatives on Wednesday a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics”.
With only eight days left in his one-term administration, Trump finds himself alone, shunned by former supporters, barred by social media, and now facing a second impeachment over his instigation of a riot against Congress on January 6.
His trip to Alamo, Texas, where he will tout claims of success in building a US-Mexican border wall, is his first live public appearance since he rallied thousands of followers on the National Mall to march on Congress.
Although this is not the same Alamo as the famous fortress in another part of Texas, the trip marks something of a last stand for the Republican.
Ever since the November 3 election, the real estate tycoon has been obsessively pushing a lie that he, not Democrat Joe Biden, was the real winner and last week, in a speech he described Tuesday as “totally appropriate,” he called on the huge crowd to “show strength”.
Amped up on Trump’s rhetoric, the mob burst into Congress, fighting with police, trashing offices and forcing frightened lawmakers to suspend briefly a ceremony legally formalizing Biden’s victory.
The crisis galvanised many of Trump’s former boosters in the corporate and sporting world to turn their backs.
In Congress, where the Republican party has been in thrall to the populist leader for four years, even ultra-loyal senior figures like Senator Lindsey Graham have finally told Trump that he must accept his election defeat.
Trump, however, remains in denial.
He has yet to congratulate Biden or urge his supporters to stand behind the incoming president after he is inaugurated on January 20 — a gesture of political unity considered all but routine after US elections.
And according to Axios, Trump and the top Republican in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, had a stormy phone conversation Tuesday in which Trump claimed that left wing Antifa activists, not his supporters, attacked Congress.
“It’s not Antifa,” McCarthy reportedly responded. “I know. I was there.”
When Trump continued to push his conspiracy theory that he was the true election winner, McCarthy reportedly interrupted, telling him: “Stop it. It’s over. The election is over.”
The House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on a longshot bid to get Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to invoke the US Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which would declare Trump unfit to perform his duties and install Pence as acting president.