Trump called crowd gathered before Jan. 6 riot 'loving'

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE in the months after the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol called the crowd he spoke to on the Ellipse ahead of the attack “loving,” according to audio published by The Washington Post late Wednesday. 

The remarks came in a March interview with Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker for their new book “I Alone Can Fix It,” which was published Tuesday after early excerpts revealed tensions among top administration officials in the lead-up and aftermath to the riot. 

In the newly released audio, Trump said in the interview from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., that he hoped the crowd gathered for his Stop the Steal rally and other rallies on the National Mall that day would show their support for his unsupported claims of fraud in the 2020 election. 

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“Personally, what I wanted is what they wanted,” he told the reporters, who repeatedly asked the former president what he hoped would have happened when he urged his supporters to march toward the Capitol. 

“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,” he said. 

Trump said that the people gathered to hear him and others speak at the rallies that day “was a loving crowd.” 

“There was a lot of love, I’ve heard that from everybody,” he continued. “Many, many people have told me, ‘That was a loving crowd.’ ”

Trump went on to say that he did not mean to tell his supporters to go into the Capitol building, where lawmakers were gathered to certify President BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE’s Electoral College win, claiming that rioters were “ushered in by police.” 

“The Capitol Police were ushering people in, the Capitol Police were very friendly,” he asserted. 

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While Democrats and others have raised concerns about whether some officers may have been complicit in the riot, citing video showing some reportedly moving barricades so rioters could break through and at least one officer who posed for a selfie with a rioter, Washington, D.C., and Capitol Police officers were among those who suffered severe injuries while attempting to respond to the rioting. 

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after sustaining injuries, and two other officers in the weeks following the mob attack died by suicide. 

In response to the newly unveiled interview, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington tweeted a clip from Trump's Jan. 6 address on the Ellipse, in which crowds began chanting "we love you," after he said he could "go on and on" about the widespread fraud he falsely claimed "took place in every state."

Harrington also tweeted previously reported video footage shared by CNN appearing to show the one officer posing for a selfie, and another that she said showed Capitol Police "open doors for the protestors" and "stand aside and invite them inside."

In the interview for the book, in which the reporters detailed that Trump told his vice president, Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOfficers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Want to improve vaccine rates? Ask for this endorsement MORE, that he didn’t “have the courage” to reject the results of the 2020 election, the former president said that he is “not locked into anything” as far as a potential 2024 running mate, but added he was “disappointed” in Pence.

--Updated at 11:26 a.m.