January 6th was Donald Trump’s Super Bowl. While White House staffers watched in shock at the violence that was occurring just steps away from where they were standing, the then-president was apparently as giddy as a schoolboy.
As The Daily Beast reports, testimony given to the January 6th committee seems to confirm a story that former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has already told: That in the midst of the deadly chaos that Trump and his cohorts had unleashed and encouraged during their Stop The Steal rally on the morning of January 6, 2021, then then-president was practically gleeful watching what was transpiring on Pennsylvania Avenue—so much so, that he actually rewinding and re-watching certain parts of the footage like a proud papa.
The AP reports that as rioters began to force their way into the Capitol, they were further egged on by Trump, who tweeted (back when he could tweet): “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution …” Also according to the AP:
Back in the White House, as staffers watched in shock at what was unfolding down Pennsylvania Avenue on television screens positioned throughout the West Wing, Trump’s attention was so rapt that he hit rewind and watched certain moments again, according to Stephanie Grisham, a former White House press secretary.
“Look at all of the people fighting for me,” Trump said, according to Grisham, who also served as chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump. At one point, the president was confused why staffers weren’t as excited as he was watching the unrest unfold.
Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg was there that day, and told the Jan. 6 Committee that he, along with several other staffers, including Ivanka Trump, attempted to convince the then-president that he needed to address the nation and tell the rioters to go home, but that he refused. Though Kellogg clarified that they were reluctant to have Trump appear before the press or make any live statement, as they feared that, if left to his own devices and whims, he could make the situation much worse.
“The president ultimately agreed to a video statement,” Farnoush Amiri wrote for the Associated Press. “Multiple takes were filmed but not used. In each one of the initial takes, according to the committee, he failed to ask rioters to leave.”
The final take wasn’t ideal either. In it, Trump stated that “This was a fraudulent election” and told the rioters “We love you; you’re very special.”
(Via The Daily Beast)