Former President Donald Trump expressed sympathy for individuals charged in the Jan. 6 riot in a statement released on Thursday, but he did not address a contentious gathering planned for Saturday at the Capitol, which is endorsed by supporters of those jailed in the uprising.
Trump has not tied himself to Saturday’s “Justice for J6” demonstration, which prompted heightened Capitol Hill security measures. Security officials have re-erected fencing around the Capitol to prevent a repeat of the unrest on Jan. 6, when a throng of Trump supporters overpowered police and stormed the building.
In his brief written statement, Trump, who was impeached for his behavior during the incident, echoed his bogus assertions about the 2020 presidential race being rigged.
“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said. “In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!”
In recent days, rally organizers have moved to disassociate the event from Trump by asking attendees not to wear Trump-supporting attire or bring signs.
“We request that anybody attending our events not wear any clothing or have signs supportive of either President Trump or Biden,” Matt Braynard, one of the organizers and former Trump campaign staffer, wrote.
“Anyone not honoring this request will be assumed to be an infiltrator and we will take your picture, find out who you are, and make you famous,” he added.
Around 700 individuals are anticipated to join the event on Saturday, according to a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson.
Many of the protesters who stormed past police lines and forced the evacuation of Congress on Jan. 6 wore terrible clothes or held banners indicating they were Trump supporters.
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Five individuals were killed during the Capitol riot.
No lawmakers are anticipated to attend the demonstration on Saturday, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has advised police to take a “firm line” with those attending the event. He also said that “if anybody gets out of line, they need to wack ‘em.”