Former President Trump on Wednesday defended his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, and said protesters who descended on Washington, D.C., that day had “love in their heart.”
Trump was asked at a CNN town hall whether he had any regrets about his conduct on Jan. 6, when rioters violently stormed the Capitol, trying to stop the certification of the 2020 election. The riots followed a speech by Trump outside the White House in which he repeated debunked claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
“I’ve never spoken to a crowd as large as this,” Trump said of that day. “That was because they thought the election was rigged. And they were there proud. They were there with love in their heart. That was an unbelievable, and it was a beautiful day.”
Trump repeated a series of talking points that have been debunked — in some instances by his own former officials in testimony to the House panel that investigated the Jan. 6 riots — including that then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was slow to call for military help that day.
At one point, moderator Kaitlan Collins pressed Trump about why it took him so long to call on his supporters to stand down at the Capitol. The former president pulled a document from his jacket pocket that had printed out copies of his tweets from that day.
He read one tweet of his from 2:30 p.m. that day that said: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful.”
A Justice Department special counsel is investigating Trump over his efforts to remain in power and his conduct around Jan. 6.
The former president spent much of the early portion of Wednesday’s town hall repeating debunked claims that the 2020 election was rigged and that there were fraudulent votes in major cities such as Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia, all located in states he lost in 2020. Several lawsuits brought by Trump and his lawyers over the 2020 election were dismissed.