Trump defends Capitol rioters, says there was ‘zero threat’ to lawmakers

Worker removing razor wire from fence on Capitol Hill
A worker removes razor wire from a security fence on Capitol Hill in Washington on Saturday.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Former President Trump defended some of his supporters who rioted at the U.S. Capitol, saying Thursday that they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled to confirm President Biden’s victory in the November election.

Capitol Police officers hustled lawmakers to safety when a pro-Trump mob overran the Capitol on Jan. 6. Some of the rioters carried stun guns, baseball bats and zip-tie handcuffs, authorities say, and more than 100 police officers were injured. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the melee.

Trump complained to Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham that law enforcement was now “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, hundreds of whom have been arrested, while “nothing happens” to left-wing protesters.


Trump did acknowledge that those who stormed the Capitol “went in and they shouldn’t have done it.”

Despite ample warnings about pro-Trump demonstrations, U.S. Capitol Police did not bolster staffing Wednesday and made no preparations for the possibility of massive violent riots.

Jan. 10, 2021

But he added: “Some of them went in and they’re — they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot. Authorities have said they believe at least 100 more could face charges.

The insurrection followed a fiery Trump rally outside the White House, at which he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” for him at the Capitol. A week later, the House impeached Trump for the second time, but the Senate eventually acquitted him on the charge of inciting the attack.