Former POTUS Donald Trump continues to enjoy strong support among his GOP base, with 55 percent of Republicans believing that his loss to Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the November 2020 presidential election had resulted from ‘rigged’ voting, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows.
An overwhelming majority of Republicans – 81 percent - still view Trump favourably, with six in 10 believing he should run for president again in 2024.
Donald Trump teased his supporters that he may "beat" Biden in 2024, when he appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando in late February.
Approximately half of the GOP members polled by Ipsos between 30-31 March 2021 on behalf of Thomson Reuters agree with Donald Trump’s perception of the events on 6 January, which culminated with the storming of the US Capitol building.
Among the sample of 1,005 Americans aged 18+ from the continental US, Alaska, and Hawaii, including 451 Democrats, 379 Republicans, and 119 independents interviewed online in English, 35 percent of Republicans believe the siege was “largely a non-violent protest” or carried out by left-wing activists “trying to make Trump look bad”.
While Donald Trump is seen as responsible for the events on 6 January at the Capitol by an overall 59 percent of respondents, only three in 10 Republicans blame Trump for the attack.
80 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents do not consider the Capitol mayhem as having been nonviolent.
Approximately 60 percent of Americans overall believe President Joe Biden won fairly in the presidential election.
The poll came several days after Donald Trump defended the Capitol rioters during a Fox News interview on 25 March.
Speaking on the Ingraham Angle, Donald Trump decried law enforcement for “persecuting” the rioters involved in the Capitol events of 6 January. While acknowledging that those who breached Capitol building “shouldn’t have done it”, Trump defended them, saying those who had entered the building were “hugging and kissing” the police and the guards, after being “waved in”.
Donald Trump again reiterated that the November 2020 election had been ‘rigged’ and resembled a “third-world election”, while the ballots cast had been “vastly” in his favour.
The ex-POTUS decried the fact that the Supreme Court had refused to overturn the election results, saying the justices “should be ashamed of themselves”.
State and federal judges dismissed more than 50 lawsuits brought by Trump and his allies alleging voter fraud and other irregularities during last year’s election.
The Republican National Committee said in a comment cited by Reuters that the GOP condemns the violence on 6 January and referred to a January statement by chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
“Those who partook in the assault on our nation’s Capitol and those who continue to threaten violence should be found, held accountable, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” stated McDaniel.
On 6 January, soon after the then-president's speech at a "Stop the Steal" rally during which Trump repeated his allegations of election fraud, his supporters broke into the Capitol as a joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes to formalise Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential race.
More than 140 people reportedly sustained injuries in the storming, with five, including one policeman, dying during or shortly after it.
At least 200 individuals have been charged for participating in the Capitol riot, according to the media.
Trump faced accusations from Democrats and even some of the Republicans of inciting the Capitol mayhem, despite himself having urged his supporters not to use violence.
Nevertheless, the 45th president faced a second impeachment over the allegations, with the motion passing the House of Representatives.
However, the US Senate acquitted Trump, as Republicans opposed the impeachment and botched an attempt to remove Trump from the White House and subsequently ban him from holding office in the future.