Scalise avoids blaming Trump for Capitol riot following Mar-a-Lago visit
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who last week visited former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, on Sunday deflected blame away from Trump for the deadly riot at the Capitol.
Scalise told host Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “This Week” that he “ended up” at the former president’s Palm Beach resort during a visit to Florida to fundraise when asked if he spoke to Trump about taking responsibility for a mob of his supporters overrunning the Capitol during Congress’s official Electoral College count affirming President Biden’s win. The House impeached Trump over his role in the siege, and the Senate acquitted the former president in a trial.
“I was in Florida doing some fundraising throughout a number of parts of Florida, ended up at Mar-a-Lago, and the president reached out, and we visited,” Scalise said. “I hadn’t seen him since he had left the White House, and it was actually good to catch up with him. I noticed he was a lot more relaxed than his four years in the White House.”
“It was a conversation more about how he’s doing now and what he’s planning on doing and how his family is doing,” Scalise said.
Karl later referred to comments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who on the evening of Jan. 6 flatly blamed Trump for the riot — comments the California Republican later backtracked.
Scalise replied that there was “a lot of blame to go around.”
“At the end of the day, the people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 — it was a disgrace, and they need to be held accountable,” Scalise said.
“That’s obvious,” Karl responded. “I’m asking about Donald Trump’s role in this.”
Scalise then shifted to the subject of Trump’s second impeachment trial, where defense attorneys showed a mashup video of Democrats using the word “fight” in political speeches in relation to Trump’s “fight like hell” phrase used during a speech just before rioters stormed the Capitol.
“All they’ve done since the day [he] walked into office was try to impeach him,” Scalise said.
“So you’re saying he doesn’t bear responsibility?” Karl asked.
“Look, President Trump has denounced what happened, and I think everyone should have been unequivocal in their denouncing of what happened not only on Jan. 6 but during the summer,” Scalise said in reference to protests that sometimes turned violent last year following multiple deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police.
“Let’s be across the board and say anybody who resorts to violence to settle political disputes — there’s no place for that in America, and it should be disputed unequivocally,” Scalise said.
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