With just hours to go before the start of the House January 6 select committee’s first prime-time hearing, former president Donald Trump is now claiming the violent attack on the Capitol perpetrated by his supporters was “not simply a protest” but actually “the greatest movement” in US history.
Mr Trump made the incendiary statement praising the rioters who sacked the Capitol in hopes of keeping him in the White House for a second term on Thursday. It appeared on his own Truth Social platform, which he started posting on earlier this year because he is banned from Twitter and most mainstream social media sites.
The twice-impeached ex-president also complained that the House select committee “didn’t spend one minute studying the reason that people went to Washington, DC, in massive numbers,” though his claim is false because a group of committee investigators has been looking into the relationship between the lies he began telling about the conduct of the 2020 election and the riot that happened on 6 January 2021.
Mr Trump also posted statements in which he aired a series of baseless grievances regarding past investigations into his conduct by Democrats and the Justice Department. In one, he complained that the select committee “refused to study and report on the massive amount of irrefutable evidence, much of it recently produced, that shows the 2020 Presidential Election was Rigged and Stolen”.
While it is correct that the select committee has not studied any such evidence, it is because the evidence does not exist. Officials from Mr Trump’s own administration have repeatedly stressed that the 2020 election was the most secure in American history, but the defeated ex-president has continued to lie about it and insist that he was unfairly robbed of a second term.
Late on Thursday, after the January 6 committee’s hearing concluded, Mr Trump issued a new statement calling the panel’s members “HACKS”.
“So the Unselect Committee of political HACKS refuses to play any of the many positive witnesses and statements, refuses to talk of the Election Fraud and Irregularities that took place on a massive scale, and decided to use a documentary maker from Fake News ABC to spin only negative footage. Our Country is in such trouble!”