Trump was preoccupied with himself on January 6 – and afterward, the evidence shows


It was clear, even on January 6, 2021, that President Donald Trump was not interested in quickly recalling his supporters as they carried out a historic attack on the US Capitol. And that only became clearer through the texts, testimonies and public comments of its allies who pleaded for more, sooner – and did not get it.

But at Thursday night’s hearing, the January 6 committee took home this did Trump is interested in: That at the time he seemed entirely preoccupied with other things than leading the country through this ugly chapter and that this persisted even in the days that followed. The evidence indicated that Trump was more focused on continuing his crusade to overthrow the election and even exploiting events for that purpose, and that he was instead focused on covering his butt at the expense of healing wounds. of that day.

One of Thursday’s most startling revelations came when the committee released excerpts from a video recorded by Trump on Jan. 7. Trump read a script that said “this election is now over,” but hesitated. He didn’t want to say it.

Even after everything that had happened the day before, he was only saying that Congress had certified the election. Whether he held on to some kind of hope for a non-existent legal avenue to retain office, or simply didn’t want to admit he actually lost, the practical effect was that Trump still refused to provide a complete closure, despite the high costs of its resistance.

In the days that followed, Trump would also refuse to note the death of Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick or lower flags to half-staff in federal buildings — so much so that aides to Trump’s campaign texted privately about how awful that posturing was.

One, Tim Murtaugh, on Jan. 9 called the lack of recognition “s—–“. Matthew Wolking replied that it was “infuriating” and said: “Everything he said about supporting law enforcement was a lie”.

Then Murtaugh offered a theory: Trump was just worried about himself.

“You know how it is, of course, if he recognized the dead cop, he would implicitly blame the mob,” Murtaugh said. “And he won’t, because they are his people. And he would also be on the verge of acknowledging that what he ignited at the rally got out of hand. No question of him acknowledging something that could ultimately be called his fault. Certainly not.”

It’s a remarkable way of talking about his boss – that he was more concerned about it than doing the right thing, even three days later after several people died.

The story was similar with deliberations over a tweet Trump would send during the riot. Then-deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews testified that press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told her Trump didn’t want to include the word “peace” in a 2:38 p.m. tweet.

“So she looked at me directly and in a low voice told me that the president didn’t want to include any kind of mention of peace in this tweet, and it took a bit of convincing on their part – those who were in the bedroom,” Matthews testified. “And she said he was going back and forth, going through different sentences to find something he was comfortable with. And it wasn’t until Ivanka Trump suggested the phrase “stay in peace” which he eventually agreed to include.

Why not talk about peace? The worst explanation would be that Trump did not want to peace — that he believes this outburst of anger was justified or even advantageous in some way, a direction suggested by several later Trump comments and other evidence. And notably, Trump reportedly resisted using the word “peace” in a tweet that came shortly after a 2:26 p.m. call in which Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told him that the vice- President Mike Pence was to be removed from the Senate. bedroom. (It’s unclear when the deliberations actually took place, but things were moving quickly at this point.)

As the committee examined the black box of what Trump was actually doing during the insurgency, they also listened to testimony from several witnesses who said they had never seen Trump reach out to law enforcement.

What was he doing instead? According to McEnany’s testimony, Trump returned to the White House after his Ellipse speech and, even as the violence escalated, summoned a slate of senators to call – ostensibly to overturn the results in Congress.

Asked by a committee lawyer if she knew which senators he had called, McEnany replied, “To the best of my recollection, no. As I say in my notes, he wanted a list of senators. And you know, I left them then.

While the White House call logs show a gap of several hours at this crucial moment, we know that Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani called several GOP lawmakers who led efforts to void the election. The exact number of calls he made is not known from McEnany’s testimony, of which only a brief excerpt was released.

But this list could only have one purpose. And alongside his appeals to Tuberville and others, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) all other evidence, including on Trump’s own public statements, it’s clear what Trump was concerned about: Trump.


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