Former President Donald Trump on Thursday attempted to whitewash the history of the January 6 Capitol riot by pushing the false suggestion that his supporters were “hugging and kissing” police officers and posed “zero threat” despite widespread violence, injuries to law enforcement officers and five deaths.
It’s an outrageous attempt by Trump to rewrite the history of the insurrection, which he stoked by repeatedly and falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him. There is no evidence of widespread fraud, but Trump and many of his conservative allies in the media and on Capitol Hill have continued to push the “big lie” regardless.
Calling into Fox News on Thursday night, Trump was asked if he was concerned about the US Capitol’s beefed up security, including razor-wire fencing, which he derided as “disgraceful” and a “political maneuver.”
“It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat. Look, they went in, they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships,” Trump told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”
Trump’s latest whitewash attempt comes after the world has been presented with reams of video evidence of the violence that broke out on January 6, criminal charges filed against participants, law enforcement officials testimony, police officers’ accounts of the violence, and lawmakers’ descriptions of the fear they experienced that day.
Trump appeared to suggest that some of the rioters should face repercussions, but quickly pivoted to attacking the leftist movement Antifa, a familiar target of his that he has often cited to draw a false equivalency in downplaying crimes committed in his name.
“They’re persecuting a lot of those people, and some of them should be – some things should happen to them. But when I look at Antifa in Washington, even, what they did to Washington and what they did to other locations and the destruction, and frankly, the killing and the beating up of people, and nothing happens to them whatsoever. Why aren’t they going after Antifa?” Trump told Fox News.
Ingraham then interjected. “But you would say that people who commit crimes, regardless of what their political affiliations are, should be prosecuted?”
“Absolutely. What you said is exactly right,” Trump replied.
The mob of pro-Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol intended to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election.
Many rioters violently clashed with Capitol police, using various weapons, as they pushed through barriers to breach the Capitol complex. The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and more than 100 other police officers were injured.
Trump’s claim that some of the rioters were “hugging and kissing” police could be a reference to videos from that day showing police letting protesters into the building and one of the Capitol police officers taking a selfie with someone who was part of the mob that overtook the Capitol.
As they entered the Capitol, rioters could be heard chanting death threats against Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several lawmakers, some of whom hid throughout the building while the mob sought them out.
Criminal complaints filed against some of the individuals who participated in the January 6 storming of the Capitol have validated concerns about the safety of members and show the severity of the threats against them. Members of far-right militant and extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, have been arrested and charged related to the Capitol riot.
Trump himself has been the subject of two lawsuits filed by Democratic lawmakers who accuse him of stoking the riot. He has repeatedly denied any responsibility.
CNN’s Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.