President Donald Trump, speaking to the American public for the first time since the January 6 riot at the Capitol building that left a Capitol police officer and four others dead, showed no remorse to the point of defending his inciting rhetoric as “totally appropriate.”
Trump even used the occasion to provoke more violent acts by his base and blaming on his likely upcoming impeachment.
Trump, talking to reporters outside the White House leaving for a trip Alamo, Texas to look at the border wall, insisted that his speech last Wednesday morning, mere hours before the deadly riot, was not harmful.
In that speech, Trump exhorted his followers to head to the Capitol, and they proceeded to attack the building as a joint session of Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
When asked if he takes any responsibility for the violence, Trump replied:
“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate. I want no violence. It’s been analyzed and people thought what I said was totally appropriate.”
Several lawmakers expressed grave concern that Trump’s comments indicated he is openly welcoming further violent acts in support of his election fraud lies.
Rep. Don Bayer took to Twitter and called Trump a “menace”:
“Donald Trump is a menace to the United States of America and he must be removed from office as soon as possible. These remarks make it clear that he has no problem endangering others or inciting insurrection, and would be willing to do it again. Republicans, your duty is clear.”
Reports from inside the White House are suggesting that President Donald Trump was “delighted” to observe a mob of his followers forcefully attack the Capitol building last Wednesday in an attempt to disrupt Congress’ certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
The attack has left as many as 5 people dead, including a Capitol police officer. Trump has remained silent in the 5 days since the attack.
Despite that silence, it’s not hard to imagine Trump’s reaction to the events. And, Senator Ben Sasse (R. NE) claims that he has heard from some inside the White House of Trump’s elation at the violent mob.
Sasse, speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt said, “I don’t have any idea what was in his heart about what he wanted to happen once they were in the Capitol, but he wanted there to be chaos. And I’m sure you’ve also had conversations with other senior White House officials, as I have,”
Sasse continued with Hewitt:
“As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building.”
Sasse concluded “he was delighted.”
Sasse is one of several lawmakers within Trump’s own Republican party who suggests he might support removing the President from office after he incited the Capitol violence.
Sasse’s account coincides with other reports attributed to White House aides, about how Trump responded to his supporters’ actions, and why he delayed in telling them to “go home.”
But other accounts from inside the White House have suggested that Trump disliked the mob, calling them “low class” and worrying about how the violence reflected on his image and legacy.
When Hewitt asked Sasse about impeachment, he was relatively straightforward in his response, not completely agreeing to support it, but certainly suggesting he is very open to the idea:
“That’s what I’ve been working on last night and this morning. I want to understand more about why the National Guard wasn’t deployed when there had been clear calls for it, and then why that delay happened. So there are more things that I need to understand before I get to a conclusory judgment about that. But I think that the question of, ‘Was the president derelict in his duty,’ that’s not an open question. He was.”