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Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Addressing a huge crowd of loyal supporters south of the White House, President Trump declared that he will never concede to Joe Biden and attacked "weak Republicans" — calling out "the Liz Cheneys of the world" — for failing to support his efforts to overturn the results of the election.

Why it matters: It's a new escalation in Trump's war against the GOP, which has pitted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other mainstream Republicans against the most popular figure in the party. Cheney is a member of House Republican leadership, meaning that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will likely be forced to respond.

The big picture: It was in many ways a traditional Trump rally, but unusual in that it came hours before Congress is set to meet in a joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, officially sealing off any path to a second Trump term.

Zoom in: Trump, as he has done several times over the past few days, sought to exert pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over Congress as it counts the electoral votes.

  • "If Mike Pence does the right thing we win the election," Trump falsely claimed. Pence has no constitutional authority to block Congress from certifying the Electoral College.
  • Trump also attacked McConnell and other Republicans who have resisted doomed efforts to block certification of Biden's victory.
  • In a speech before the president arrived, Donald Trump Jr. threatened to campaign against any Republican in Congress who doesn't object to Wednesday's certification.

Between the lines: Trump has never had any affinity for the institutional party. He has always seen it as the Trump Party. And now he plans to use his popularity with the base to inflict as much pain as possible on elected Republicans who don’t perform this final act of subservience.

  • Nobody will be spared — not even Pence, the man who obediently and loyally served as his vice president for four years.
  • Trump knows he is the most popular Republican in the country, and that his base will stand by him no matter what. It’s the reason he was able to wield total control over the party for the last four years, and he doesn’t plan on releasing his grip on them anytime soon.

Go deeper

Kudlow says he's "very disappointed" in Trump's treatment of Pence

Larry Kudlow. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow criticized President Trump’s response to last week's U.S. Capitol siege and his treatment of Vice President Mike Pence in the aftermath of the 2020 election, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

The big picture: Trump has lost support from a number of top aides and allies since a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, resulting in five deaths. Kudlow is the latest to publicly speak out against the president.

Scoop: Comms director for gun-toting congresswoman quits

Rep. Lauren Boebert during the Electoral College debate. Photo: Congress.gov via Getty Images

The communications director for Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, a firebrand Republican freshman who boasts about carrying a gun to work, has quit after less than two weeks on the job.

Why it matters: Ben Goldey’s resignation cited last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which came amid efforts by Boebert and other Republican lawmakers to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Her rhetoric on the issue mirrored President Trump's, which has fueled baseless election conspiracy theories and resulting violence.

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse: QAnon is destroying the Republican Party

Sen. Ben Sasse on Capitol Hill in October. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on the Republican Party to rebuild itself and "repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire" in an in an op-ed for The Atlantic Saturday on the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Why it matters: Many of the Trump-supporting mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots wore items signaling their support for the far-right QAnon and a prominent member of the cult was among those arrested following the siege.