Trump to Address Protesters as Congress Votes on Election Result

President Donald Trump will address protesters calling for the overturn of his electoral loss to Joe Biden during an in-person speech at a park just south of the White House on Wednesday, according to a White House official.

The president’s address at the Ellipse comes after Trump for days has promoted the protest, which will take place as lawmakers gather to certify the November election results. Trump is urging Republican lawmakers to vote against certifying his defeat.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he would “see you in D.C.” above a fundraising plea.

Officials in Washington have been bracing for possible violent clashes stemming from the demonstrations. On Tuesday, the city’s police department blocked off roads surrounding the White House to vehicle traffic while workers at businesses near the presidential residence were boarding up windows as a protective measure.

“Some of our intelligence certainly suggests there will be increased crowd sizes,” said acting D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee at a news conference, adding, “There are people intent on coming to our city armed.”

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said she is contemplating ordering a curfew and sent a request for additional personnel to the National Guard. Her Twitter page includes a message that firearms aren’t permitted within 1,000 feet of any “First Amendment activity.”

Among those planning to attend the protests are far-right groups such as the Proud Boys, which is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. During the second presidential debate, Trump drew bipartisan criticism when he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” rather than unambiguously condemn it. Trump later said he did not know who the group was.

The leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, 36, was arrested by Washington police on Monday and charged with destruction of property “related to an offense” that occurred on Dec. 12, according to Sean Hickman, a police spokesman. He faces additional charges after “he was found to be in possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines,” Hickman added.

Wednesday’s event is pegged to the congressional certification of November’s election results, which some Republican lawmakers have said they will challenge even though dozens of lawsuits from the Trump campaign have been rejected in state and federal courts across the nation. The objection is expected to be largely symbolic with little chance of success in the Democratic-controlled House. Many Republican lawmakers have also said they will not support the initiative because there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

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