Former President Donald Trump doubled down on defending those who rioted at the United States capitol on January 6, calling them unfairly “persecuted” on Thursday.
In a statement released by Trump’s Save America PAC ahead of a rally planned for September 18 in support of the hundreds of rioters arrested for allegedly participating in the January 6 Capitol riots, the ex-president expressed solidarity with those criminally charged:
“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election. In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!”
The Capitol is preparing for an influx of far-right protestors, with law enforcement agencies making moves to bolster their resources. A temporary fence around the Capitol Building has been re-erected after it was removed in July.
Capitol police have also requested help from the National Guard.
The “Justice for J6” event, organized by former Trump staffer and campaign operative Matt Braynard, is intended to support the several hundred rioters who have been charged for storming the capitol in support of Trump’s widely-debunked claims that he rightfully won the 2020 presidential election.
Braynard, who has referred to those facing criminal charges as “political prisoners” and “brave patriots,” is organizing the rally as part of the Look Ahead America organization. Braynard wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in January that would-be insurrectionists “reasonably believed they had permission” to enter the Capitol, given by the president himself.
Trump has not announced plans to attend the event. Notably, he also did not specifically mention the “Justice for J6” rally, as it’s being called by organizers. His statement of support was released two days before the scheduled date of the event.
It was not immediately clear what the ex-president meant by his statement that “justice will prevail.” Of the 642 people who have been charged in the Capitol insurrection as of Tuesday, dozens have already pleaded guilty.
Trump has not taken responsibility for inciting the riots that lead to the illegal breach of the Capitol building, although he faced impeachment in February, charging him with “incitement of insurrection.” The article was approved in the House but went on to fail in the Senate.
Braynard has listed several rules for attending the September 18 rally, several of which appear to be geared toward safety, but has not advised attendees not to bring weapons.
Newsweek reached out to a spokesperson for Donald Trump for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.