During a segment on Fox News Sunday, former President Donald Trump defended his mob of his loyalists who attacked the United States Capitol building on January 6 following an incendiary speech he gave in Washington, D.C.
“These were peaceful people, these were great people,” Trump said in his interview conducted by Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo.
Trump similarly defended white supremacists who had attacked counterprotesters and killed one anti-racist activist at a far right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. At that time, Trump downplayed the violence of the far right protesters, and said there were “very fine people on both sides” who took part in demonstrations.
In his interview on Sunday, Trump exaggerated the size of the crowd that had attacked the Capitol building on his behalf that day, in order to disrupt Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results.
“The crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word ‘love,’ the love in the air, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Trump said, claiming that there were “over a million people” who had taken part in the breach of the building.
Estimates of the actual crowd size vary, but they were far fewer than a million. One expert on crowd size estimates said that no more than 10,000 individuals could have taken part.
Even though the former president claimed that there was a lot of “spirit and faith and love” on the part of his supporters, Trump appeared to acknowledge during the interview that there was some violence that took place on January 6 — but he falsely blamed Democratic leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), for what occurred.
“They are the ones that were responsible,” Trump insisted.
On the day that his mob of loyalists attacked the Capitol building, Trump vastly downplayed the severity of their actions, telling them he loved them, and waiting several hours until after they breached the building before telling them to go home.
Trump’s Sunday interview on Fox News occurred just hours before he gave a speech in Dallas, Texas, for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). During his speech, Trump continued to baselessly claim that election fraud had led to the January 6 attack.
“There’s so much evidence [of election fraud]. There’s bad things going on in this country,” Trump said, failing to provide evidence.
To date, all of Trump and his allies’ claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential race have not been substantiated.
Trump also told the CPAC crowd that he judges the authenticity of polls by whether the results are to his liking.
“If it’s bad, I say it’s fake,” Trump admitted of his feelings on polls that show he’s not liked by voters. “If it’s good, I say, that’s the most accurate poll perhaps ever.”
Trump also suggested that he might not accept the results of a CPAC straw poll for the 2024 Republican nomination for president unless it showed him as the clear frontrunner. As it turned out, the straw poll in question showed him with 70 percent support from attendees at the convention who took part, and second-place winner Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida receiving 21 percent.