Former President Donald Trump is blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser for not putting a quicker end to the violent Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
What You Need To Know
- Former President Donald Trump is blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser for not putting a quicker end to the violent Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot
- In an interview with The Washington Post published Thursday, Trump defended himself for his silence that day, saying he was waiting for Pelosi and Bowser to act
- Asked about the House committee investigating Jan. 6 identifying a roughly eight-hour gap in official phone records, Trump told The Post he did not destroy any call logs and did not use “burner phones”
- Trump said the investigative committee has not contacted him and that he didn’t know if he would testify if requested
In an interview with The Washington Post published Thursday, Trump defended himself for his silence that day, saying he was waiting for Pelosi and Bowser to act.
“I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking, why isn’t she doing something about it? Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it? And the mayor of D.C. also. The mayor of D.C. and Nancy Pelosi are in charge,” Trump told the newspaper. “I hated seeing it. I hated seeing it. And I said, ‘It’s got to be taken care of,’ and I assumed they were taking care of it.”
The riot began as Trump was wrapping up a nearby rally promoting false election-fraud claims to his supporters. In that speech, he told the crowd, “You will never take back our country with weakness” and, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” before urging them to march to the Capitol.
More than three hours later, he tweeted a video telling his supporters: “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
Trump has come under fire for waiting so long to issue a statement on Jan. 6 and for not calling in the D.C. National Guard, which the president controls, to quell the violence. The House impeached him, for the second time, for inciting an insurrection, but the Republican-led Senate voted to acquit him.
Blaming Pelosi for security failures at the Capitol on Jan. 6 has become a popular GOP line of attack. Trump pointed the finger at the House speaker at least a dozen times in the Post interview, the newspaper said.
Pelosi, along with other members of Congress, were rushed to safety as the angry mob stormed the Capitol. The rioters vowed to hurt her and ransacked her office. She worked with some of Trump’s top military officials and others to help secure the building that day, The Post reported.
The House speaker does not have total control of the Capitol Police, with most of its decisions being made by a police board. Pelosi shares control of the Capitol with the Senate majority leader, who at the time was Republican Mitch McConnell.
“The former president’s desperate lies aside, the speaker was no more in charge of the security of the U.S. Capitol that day than Mitch McConnell,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Post.
Advisers for Bowser, whom Trump also blamed, furiously tried to reach the president Jan. 6, according to The Post.
Trump reportedly was watching the events unfold on television that day, criticizing then-Vice President Mike Pence and making calls urging Republican lawmakers to vote against certifying Joe Biden’s win in the election.
The House committee investigating Jan. 6, however, has identified a roughly eight-hour gap in official phone records — from a little after 11 a.m. to about 7 p.m. on Jan. 6.
Trump told The Post he did not destroy any call logs and did not use “burner phones.” He said he remembered speaking to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and other people on Jan. 6, but he couldn’t say exactly who else and when.
“From the standpoint of telephone calls, I don’t remember getting very many,” he said.
“Why would I care about who called me? If congressmen were calling me, what difference did it make? There was nothing secretive about it. There was no secret.”
Trump said the investigative committee has not contacted him and that he didn’t know if he would testify if requested. He has repeatedly invoked executive privilege in attempts to block the panel from accessing documents, and the House has voted to hold several of his allies in contempt for defying subpoenas.
The former president also acknowledged speaking to Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, at times during his presidency. But Trump said he was unaware of her reported efforts to implore his White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to act to overturn the 2020 election.
The Jan. 6 committee has acquired 29 text messages between Ginni Thomas and Meadows, according to The Post and CBS News.