The ex-president defended the actions of the mob of his supporters, who violently took over the Capitol to try to block the peaceful transition of power.
Donald Trump on Sunday joined the chorus of Republican lawmakers who are trying to rewrite the history of the Jan. 6 insurrection, praising the mob of his supporters who injured nearly 150 law enforcement officers as they violently broke into the Capitol to try to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory as “peaceful” and “great” people.
“There was such love at that rally,” Trump told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday.
Trump continued to lie about the size of the crowd and the behavior of the mob, which marched to the Capitol after Trump’s speech earlier in the day and then viciously attacked law enforcement officers with flag poles, fence stakes, and chemical irritants such as bear spray to break into the building.
Some officers are still grappling with the injuries they sustained that day.
“You had over a million people,” Trump said, grossly exaggerating the size of the crowd he spoke to at a rally at the White House on Jan. 6, in which he told his supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight.”
“They were there for one reason, the rigged election. They felt the election was rigged, that’s why they were there. And they were peaceful people, these were great people, the crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love in the air, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Trump called for some of the more than 500 alleged insurrectionists who have been arrested to be released from jail, where some are still being held as they await trial. He lied that the insurrectionists had “no guns whatsoever,” even though Christopher Wray, the FBI director Trump himself appointed, said at least one gun was recovered that day.
And he joined in on the effort that some GOP lawmakers have undertaken to paint Ashli Babbit, a woman who was shot dead as she tried to enter the House floor as members of Congress were still being evacuated, as a martyr.
“Who shot Ashli Babbitt?” Trump said. “Why are they keeping that secret? Who is the person that shot an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman — a military woman — right in the head?”
Trump’s rhetoric trying to absolve his supporters of guilt for the attack they carried out mirrors the rhetoric of some far-right GOP lawmakers who have downplayed the events of Jan. 6.
And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) described the events on Jan. 6 as just a “normal tourist visit,” even though there are images of a worried-looking Clyde helping to barricade the doors to the House chamber as insurrectionists like Babbitt tried to enter.
The House is now embarking on an investigation into how the attack was fomented and how to prevent a similar attack in the future. They are using a select committee, which they convened after Senate Republicans blocked the formation of an independent and bipartisan commission to probe the attack.