Trump defends remarks before Capitol riots, calling them ‘totally appropriate’
President Trump on Tuesday said his remarks to supporters just before they stormed the U.S. Capitol last week were “totally appropriate,” even as they have become the basis for an article of impeachment against him.
“They’ve analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody, to the T, thought it was totally appropriate,” Trump told reporters as he departed Joint Base Andrews to visit the border with Mexico.
He also sought to redirect focus from the deadly rioting to comments from other politicians made last summer during protests against racial injustice, saying they were “a real problem,” though he did not elaborate.
Q: “What is your role in what happened at the Capitol? What is your personal responsibility?”
President Trump: “If you read my speech…people thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” pic.twitter.com/90Pdt8xFSz
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 12, 2021
The president has yet to acknowledge his own role in the violence last Wednesday at the Capitol, where pro-Trump rioters clashed with law enforcement and broke into the building. The ensuing mayhem led to multiple deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer.
Thousands of the president’s supporters descended on Washington, D.C., to protest the certification of the electoral results affirming Joe Biden as the next president after Trump spent weeks refusing to concede and insisting the election had been “stolen.”
Trump held a rally at the Ellipse just outside the White House, where he whipped up supporters with unproven claims and urged them to march on the Capitol.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump told the crowd.
“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated.” he continued. “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
A short time later, rioters overwhelmed law enforcement and breached the Capitol complex. The vice president, lawmakers, staff and journalists were evacuated or ordered to shelter in place.
Video and firsthand accounts have since emerged of the mob assaulting police, breaking down doors and shattering windows and carrying zip ties. Dozens have been arrested in connection with the chaos, including one man who entered Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office.
Democrats and Republicans have widely condemned Trump’s role in the riots. Two Republican senators have called for Trump to resign before his term ends on Jan. 20, and House Democrats are scheduled to vote Wednesday on impeaching him for a second time.
The article of impeachment, co-authored by Democratic Reps. David Cicilline (R.I.), Ted Lieu (Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (Md.), states that Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
— Updated at 11:04 a.m.
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