Trump claims he ‘would have stopped’ Capitol rioters if Secret Service had let him ‘go down there’

In new interview, former president says he was ‘surprised’ supporters attacked Capitol after he told them to ‘fight’

John Bowden
Tuesday 19 October 2021 17:07
Comments
<p>Supporters of former President Donald Trump rallied outside of the White House before heading to the Capitol on 6 January </p>

Supporters of former President Donald Trump rallied outside of the White House before heading to the Capitol on 6 January

Leer en Español

Former President Donald Trump claims he was “surprised” by the assault on Capitol Hill committed by his supporters, and adds that he “would have stopped” the mob had Secret Service only let him attend the scene in person.

In a new interview with the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker for his book In Trump's Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of the GOP, Mr Trump addresses the riot in detail with a reporter for the first time, while making no mention of the conspiracy theories blaming the violence on FBI or Antifa operatives infiltrating the crowd that have been spread by some of his supporters.

“I was not surprised when they went down to the Capitol to cheer,” the former president claims in the interview, according to an excerpt published on Tuesday by Business Insider. “But I was surprised that they went [into] the Capitol.”

"I wanted to go down with the crowd. I said I was going to go down with the crowd. But they wouldn't let me go," Mr Trump went on. "I think if I did go down there, I would have stopped the people from doing anything bad."

Several supporters of the former president died during the riot, with one being shot by Capitol Police while attempting to breach the House chamber and others dying of combinations of preexisting medical issues and the stress of the 6 January scene.

One Capitol Police officer died from a stroke in the days following the attack, with Washington DC’s medical examiner ruling that the violence he endured while being dragged by protesters contributed to his death. Four other officers died by suicide in the weeks after the siege.

The 6 January attack is viewed by many as one of the darkest moments in the modern history of US politics, as the mob’s intention was to force Congress to halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory and certify a victory for the former president instead.

Many Republicans have sought to downplay the violence, scope, and intentions of the mob in the months following the attack, or have blamed left-wing groups for supposedly infiltrating the crowd and driving it to madness.

Mr Trump’s role in the riot is being scrutinized by Congress as he held a rally outside of the White House in the hours and minutes leading up to the attack at which he directed supporters to “fight” for his false claims regarding the 2020 election.

A select congressional committee led by Rep Bennie Thompson and vice chair Rep Liz Cheney have vowed to force close aides to the former president to testify about the hours leading up to the attack, while Mr Trump has filed a lawsuit to block the committee from seeking records at the National Archives.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in