- President Donald Trump embraced the Capitol rioters and said he and his violent loyalists wanted the same thing.
- “Personally, what I wanted is what they wanted,” he said.
- Trump made these remarks during a March 31 interview with Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
President Donald Trump embraced the Capitol rioters and said he and his loyalists wanted the same thing, according to an excerpt of a new book by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
The former president argued that his supporters, more than 500 of whom have been criminally charged for their actions on January 6, simply wanted to “show support” for him. Many of these supporters also falsely believe Trump’s lie that the election was “rigged” and “stolen” by Democrats.
“Personally, what I wanted is what they wanted,” Trump told Leonnig and Rucker during a March 31 interview at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. “They showed up just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before. There’s tremendous proof. There’s tremendous proof. Statistically, it wasn’t even possible that [Biden] won. Things such as, if you win Florida and Ohio and Iowa, there’s never been a loss.”
When pushed to explain what he wanted his supporters to do on January 6, Trump said he wanted them to march to the Capitol, but not invade it. The former president also took the opportunity to boast about the size of the crowd that gathered for his speech before marching to the Capitol, as he demanded.
“I would venture to say I think it was the largest crowd I had ever spoken [to] before,” he said, according to an excerpt of “I Alone Can Fix It” published in Vanity Fair on Monday. “It was a loving crowd, too, by the way. There was a lot of love. I’ve heard that from everybody. Many, many people have told me that was a loving crowd. It was too bad, it was too bad that they did that.”
And Trump also repeated his false claim that the Capitol Police were “ushering people in” to the building, despite the fact that many of the rioters attacked police officers, smashed windows, broke down doors, and muscled their way through barricades to illegally enter the Capitol.
“The Capitol Police were very friendly,” Trump claimed. “They were hugging and kissing. You don’t see that. There’s plenty of tape on that.”
More than 140 Capitol and Metropolitan police officers were injured on January 6. One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died following multiple strokes after being sprayed with a chemical substance during the attack. Two other officers died by suicide following the riot.
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