If you’ve ever wondered what life is like on another planet, hearing Donald Trump talk about the January 6 insurrection attempt at the US Capitol is perhaps a good place to start. Trump, who was impeached a second time by Congress and left the White House in shame after helping incite his supporters to storm the capitol in a deadly effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, has claimed his supporters didn’t injure dozens of officers and break laws in his name. Rather, they were “hugging and kissing” Capitol police and security guards who risked their lives to protect members of Congress from rioters with deadly plans to undermine democracy.
Trump has made more media rounds in recent days, with surrogates touting a forthcoming social media channel from the former president. But on Thursday he appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show for a phone interview where he was asked about the Capitol attack. In the interview, Trump lamented the increased security measures at the US Capitol in the wake of the deadly attack, one that’s seen hundreds of Trump supporters tracked by the FBI and arrested for various crimes in the weeks since the attack.
Trump admitted that they shouldn’t have entered the building, but downplayed the attack and its aftermath at every turn in a statement loaded with falsehoods. Starting with the fact that Trump said there was “zero threat” to anyone in the building that was raided by his supporters and resulted in injuries and deaths both to police and those who broke in.
Here's what Trump had to say on Fox tonight about the Capitol riots:
"It was zero threat, right from the start… Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards… a lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out" pic.twitter.com/tPCwuzrlOd
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 26, 2021
“It was zero threat, right from the start. They went in, they shouldn’t have done it,” Trump admitted before he made a bizarre claim about the good relationship Capitol Police and rioters had on January 6. “Some of them went in and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waived in and they walked in and they walked out.”
Hugging and kissing strangers during a pandemic aside, the claim flies directly in the face of the deadly results of the insurrection attempt made in his name, one that could have been much more deadly if not for the actions of some officers keeping Trump supporters away from congresspeople working inside. While some footage showed officers opening barricades outside, those working inside confronted rioters, with deadly force used against one woman that was caught on video from multiple angles.
Furthermore, while five people died in the initial violence at the Capitol, two more Capitol Police officers committed suicide in the weeks afterward, citing the trauma of the incidents and debilitating injuries suffered at the hands of rioters. According to the Washington Post, 65 Washington DC police officers were injured in the January 6 attack, and more than 70 Capitol Police officers sustained injuries. Some of those injured have been added to the death toll from the incident that shook the very core of American democracy in the final weeks of Trump’s time in office, including an officer named Jeffery Smith the paper profiled in February.
In the days that followed, Erin said, her husband seemed in constant pain, unable to turn his head. He did not leave the house, even to walk their dog. He refused to talk to other people or watch television. She sometimes woke during the night to find him sitting up in bed or pacing.
“He wasn’t the same Jeff that left on the 6th. . . . I just tried to comfort him and let him know that I loved him,” she said. “I told him I’d be there if he needed anything, that no matter what, we’ll get through it. I tried to do the best I could.”
In Trump’s warped view the real victim in recent months is, of course, himself and his followers. He soon pivoted the rant to the ANTIFA movement, stating without proof of “the killing and beating up of people” that the anti-fascist movement has done in “Washington” and “other locations.”
Given all the evidence of the violence and death caused by Trump’s supporters, his comments on Thursday are a shocking reminder of just how removed from reality his view of the world has been in recent years. But given that he still thinks he won an election he soundly lost in November, then spent months trying in vain to undo, it’s not exactly a surprise that the former president has once again dismissed any sense of reality for one of his own creation.