Trump rails against Jan 6 committee ‘persecution’ in Arizona rally speech

At a Friday evening “Save America” rally in Prescott Valley, Arizona, intended to show support for Trump-endorsed candidates in the state, former President Donald Trump delivered one of his trademark rambling stream of conscious speeches, making sure to take aim at the more recent revelations of the January 6 committee.

Almost two hours went by before Mr Trump finally mentioned Thursday’s hearing, the eighth to be screened publicly.

“Where does it stop? Where does it end?” he said of the House investigation. “Never forget: Everything this corrupt establishment is doing to me is all about preserving their power and control over the American people, for whatever reason. They want to damage me in any form so I can no longer represent you.”

“If I announced that I was not going to run any longer for political office, the persecution of Donald Trump would immediately stop,” he said.

“They’re coming after me because I’m standing up for you.”

The former president seemed especially put out by the testimony of two of his female staffers who appeared in person at the more recent hearings. Of former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, he said: “I watched this hoax last night where this young lady said, ‘Oh, I’m so heartbroken. But, three weeks after January 6th, she wrote us a letter saying, ‘Oh, I loved working for the President. He’s so great.’”

He also singled out Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows whose bombshell testimony before the committee gave damning insight into what happened at the White House in the days leading up to the Capitol riot.

“I mean, I’m the President of the United States. Can you imagine this made-up story?” he said referring to the incident where he allegedly tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential SUV from a Secret Service agent. “It’s total fiction.”

Rolling Stone observed that Mr Trump appeared most enraged not by the investigation itself, but by the unflattering anecdotes shared during hearings including his alleged childish temper tantrums.

“They have me throwing food. I don’t throw food in the White House. I don’t throw food anywhere. I eat the food, which is a problem,” he said in reference to Ms Hutchinson’s recollection that he had thrown a plate of food at the wall. “I have too much respect for the White House.”

The former president was at the rally in Arizona as a demonstration of support for gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and senate candidate Blake Masters, who appeared on stage with him.

Mr Master said that Mr Trump “literally saved this country”, and Ms Lake repeatedly referred to him as “Superman”.