Former President Donald Trump, addressing supporters in Iowa, downplayed the significance of the Jan. 6 Capitol siege anniversary, diverting attention to the southern border and labeling it the “real” insurrection. Despite the upcoming Republican nomination process, Trump did not explicitly acknowledge the date and instead propagated unfounded claims about migrant crossings.
In his speech in Newton, central Iowa, Trump revisited his past remarks on Jan. 6, emphasizing a distinction between peaceful demonstrations and the violent actions that unfolded. Meanwhile, President Biden, in a speech near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, characterized Trump as a threat to democracy, emphasizing the severity of the events on Jan. 6.
As the 2020 election rematch looms, both Biden and Trump frequently reference Jan. 6 on the campaign trail. Trump, currently facing federal indictment for efforts to overturn the 2020 election, continued to downplay the Capitol riot and spread conspiracy theories, particularly about the treatment of those charged in connection with the violence, labeling them “hostages.”
During his Iowa events, Trump also targeted his political rivals, including former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump criticized Haley as insufficiently conservative and accused her of disloyalty for running against him. Haley’s campaign sees Trump’s heightened attention as a sign of concern about her rising momentum.
Despite a delay due to a plane issue, Trump engaged with supporters, signing items and receiving emotional reactions from attendees. The Iowa caucuses are just over a week away, with Trump aiming to mobilize supporters and maintain his lead in early state and national polls.