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Trump says he’ll ‘fight like hell’ to hold on to presidency

A stage is set up on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in preparation for a rally on Jan. 6, the day when Congress is scheduled to meet to formally finalize the presidential election results. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

DALTON, Ga. (AP) — With mounting desperation, Donald Trump declared Monday night he would “fight like hell” to hold on to the presidency and appealed to Republican lawmakers to reverse his election loss to Joe Biden when they convene this week to confirm the Electoral College vote.

Electoral voters won by President-elect Biden are “not gonna take this White House!” he shouted as supporters cheered at an outdoor rally in Georgia. Trump’s announced purpose for the trip was to boost Republican Senate candidates in Tuesday’s runoff election, but he spent much of his speech complaining bitterly about his election loss — which he insists he won “by a lot.”

Bracing for possible violence, the nation’s capital has mobilized the National Guard ahead of planned protests by Trump’s supporters in connection with the congressional vote Wednesday to affirm Biden’s election victory.

Trump’s supporters are planning to rally Tuesday and Wednesday, seeking to bolster the president’s unproven claims of widespread voter fraud. “There are people intent on coming to our city armed,” D.C. Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said Monday.

A pro-Trump rally in December ended in violence as hundreds of Trump supporters, wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys faction, sought out confrontations with a collective of local activists attempting to bar them from Black Lives Matter Plaza, an area near the White House.

On Monday, Metropolitan Police Department officers arrested the leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 36, after he arrived in Washington ahead of this week’s protests. Tarrio was accused of burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from a historic Black church in downtown Washington during the December protests.

A warrant had been issued for Tarrio’s arrest for destruction of property, police said.

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