In an interview that aired on Fox News last Friday, former President Donald Trump alleged that the speech he gave directly before the January 6 Capitol attack had a “calming” effect on his loyalists — despite the fact that they forced their way past barricades and into the building a little more than an hour after the speech.
While speaking to host Laura Ingraham, Trump said he has “nothing to hide” from the House select committee investigating the attack. But for months, the former president has been using litigation as a strategy to prevent the committee from accessing documents that reveal his communications during the attack and on the days leading up to it. In fact, Trump is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court soon, in yet another attempt to prevent those materials from being released to the committee.
“I have nothing to hide. I wasn’t involved in that [the Capitol attack] and if you look at my words and what I said in the speech, they were extremely calming, actually,” Trump said.
Throughout the interview, Trump downplayed the actions of his loyalists on January 6, describing their attack as a “protest.” He also rebuffed the idea that actions taken by his followers to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election were unjust, erroneously describing the election — which he lost to President Joe Biden — as illegitimate.
“The insurrection took place on November 3, which was election day,” Trump said.
Trump expressed concern for people who have been charged with crimes relating to the attack, saying that “a lot of innocent people are being hurt” by those charges.
The Department of Justice has charged more than 600 individuals for taking part in the violent breach of the Capitol building. Five people died as a result of what happened that day.
Trump’s fictionalized account of the day’s events— including his claim that his speech before the attack was not incendiary — is not new. In fact, less than one week after the Capitol breach, Trump defended his words in an interview, claiming that they were “totally appropriate.”
During his speech, Trump told his supporters that the presidential election was “stolen … by emboldened radical left Democrats” and by “the fake news media.” He also encouraged his followers to march to the Capitol to voice their discontent in person, telling them they would “never take back our country with weakness.”
Many of Trump’s loyalists, who attended the rally in person, interpreted the speech as a direct call to action.
“We fight like hell,” Trump said briefly before the attack. “And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
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