Trump holds fast to his election lies as the GOP establishment hugs him tighter

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Nine months ago, Republicans were questioning Donald Trump’s place as the lead fixture of their party. Saturday night provided the clearest evidence yet that they want him right there.

Not one year removed from surviving a second impeachment, the former president rallied before thousands of his most loyal supporters across the Iowa State Fairgrounds on a balmy Midwestern evening. He regaled them with his stories from the White House, his falsehoods and complaints about the 2020 election results, and his criticisms of the Biden administration on everything from immigration to the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The bulk of Trump’s speech was devoted to his baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen — a false belief that was supported by the crowd, who broke out into chants of “Trump won! Trump won! Trump won!”

But the notable elements were not what was said by Trump, but who was there with him. Appearing alongside the former president was a who’s who of influential Republicans in the Hawkeye state, including Sen. Chuck Grassley and Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson, former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Iowa

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