In a characteristically bombastic speech, former President Donald Trump spoke for the first time publicly about the Capitol Hill riots hearing – dismissing it as “madness” and a “theatrical production of partisan political fiction”.
At the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference on Friday in Nashville, Trump described the 6th of January riots 2021 – in which five people were killed – as “a simple protest” that “went out of control”.
And he played down the Congressional investigation into what happened as “wasting everyone’s time.”
On the morning of January 6, thousands of Trump supporters – inspired by an incendiary speech he had just delivered near the White House, in which he repeated allegations that he had been denied a second term due to electoral fraud – marched to the building. of the Capitol which houses the seat of the US government.
Capitol Hill was in session at the time, overseeing Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
A large group broke through barriers at pedestrian entrances to the building’s grounds. Several also entered the Capitol building itself after a mob smashed windows and opened doors.
More than 100 police were injured in the chaos.
A House panel is investigating the events of that day.
However, Trump told supporters in Tennessee: “Let’s be clear. This is not a congressional investigation, this horrible situation that is wasting everyone’s time.
“This is a theatrical production of partisan political fiction that’s getting these terrible, terrible ratings and they’re freaking out. They’re freaking out.
“The committee is taking the testimony of witnesses who defended me for eight hours, cutting and truncating snippets of sound to make it sound like what they said was absolutely terrible.”
He continued, “Remember, it’s also (about) the people who weren’t allowed to testify that they wanted to. A lot of people wanted to go and testify about what they saw and how crooked it was.
“Meanwhile, the committee refuses to play any tapes of people saying the good things, the things we want to hear. It’s a one-way street. It’s a fraudulent deal. It’s a disgrace.”
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Responding to allegations made at the hearing that he had labeled his then-Vice President Mike Pence a “coward” for not following his wishes and preventing Biden’s victory, Trump told the crowd: “I never called Mike Pence a coward, I never called him a coward.
“Mike Pence had the chance to be great and he had the chance to be, frankly, historic. But… Mike, and I say this sadly because I like him, Mike didn’t have the guts to act.”
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The former president has made some scathing criticisms of fellow Republican Adam Kinzinger, who said Trump had “ignited the flames” of the insurgency.
The deputy was moved during his opening remarks at the hearing.
Trump said: “Adam Kinzinger, the crybaby. He cries every time he talks. This guy has a mental disorder. He cries every time this guy gets up to speak, he starts crying. I said, there’s something wrong with this guy .”
He is said to be actively evaluating whether he can formally launch a third presidential race.