WELLINGTON, Ohio — Former President Donald J. Trump returned to the rally stage on Saturday night after an almost six-month absence, his first massive public gathering since his “Save America” occasion on Jan. 6 that resulted in a lethal riot on the Capitol.
On Saturday, the identical phrases — “Save America” — appeared behind Mr. Trump as he addressed a crowd of a number of thousand at a county fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, about 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.
He repeated acquainted falsehoods about fraudulent 2020 votes. He attacked Republican officers for refusing to again his effort to overturn the election outcomes — together with Consultant Anthony E. Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, and whose main challenger, Max Miller, was the rationale for Mr. Trump’s go to. The previous president praised Mr. Miller as they appeared onstage collectively.
Mr. Trump stays probably the most highly effective determine within the Republican Get together, with massive numbers of G.O.P. lawmakers parroting his lies a few stolen 2020 election and terrified of crossing him, and plenty of within the social gathering ready to see whether or not he’ll run once more for the White Home in 2024.
But within the viewers and on the stage, the scene in Ohio on Saturday was reflective of how diminished Mr. Trump has become in his post-presidency, and the way reliant he’s on a smaller group of allies and supporters who’ve adopted his alternate actuality as their very own. One of many occasion’s headliners was Consultant Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the far-right Republican who has promoted the QAnon conspiracy idea.
Mr. Trump’s speech — low-key, digressive and almost 90 minutes lengthy — fell flat at instances with an in any other case adoring viewers. Scores of individuals left early as he bounced from matter to matter — immigration, Israel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s protecting masks.
“Do you miss me?” Mr. Trump requested in one among his largest applause strains. “They miss me,” he declared.
In interviews, many within the crowd expressed steadfast perception in Mr. Trump’s election falsehoods, and indulged his rewriting of historical past on the Capitol mob assault.
Tony Buscemi, 61, a small-business proprietor from West Bloomfield, Mich., who stood together with his daughter, Natalie, within the sun-baked discipline the place Mr. Trump spoke, mentioned he had been on the Capitol on Jan. 6, and he claimed falsely that it had been a “largely peaceable” gathering.
“Individuals had been praying. Individuals had been singing,” Mr. Buscemi mentioned, including that he may need gone contained in the constructing himself had his daughter not persuaded him that it was a nasty concept. “There was no revolt,” he insisted. “I didn’t see something flawed with it.”
Polling suggests that almost all Republicans stay skeptical of President Biden’s election victory. Thirty-six % of Republicans mentioned in a Monmouth University poll launched on Monday that Mr. Biden had received the election pretty, whereas 57 % mentioned his victory was the results of fraud.
Nonetheless, there may be proof that Mr. Trump’s affect over Republican voters is waning — although solely barely.
In late April, 44 % of Republicans and G.O.P.-leaning independents mentioned in an NBC News poll that they had been extra supportive of Mr. Trump than of the social gathering itself. A barely increased share, 50 %, mentioned they had been extra apt to assist the social gathering.
It was the primary time since NBC pollsters started asking the query in early 2019 that as many as half of Republicans mentioned they had been extra supportive of the social gathering than of the person.
Giovanni Russonello contributed reporting.