In a characteristically emphatic speech, former President Donald Trump spoke publicly about the Capitol riot hearing for the first time – calling it “crazy” and a “theatrical production of partisan political fiction.”
At the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference Friday in Nashville, Mr. Trump described the January 6 riots 2021 – in which five people were killed – as “just a protest” that “sent out of control”.
And he dismissed Congress’ investigation into what happened as “a waste of everyone’s time.”
On the morning of January 6, thousands of Trump supporters – inspired by an inflammatory speech he had just given near the White House in which he repeated that he had been denied a second term due to fraud election – marched to the Capitol Building which houses the Seat of the US Government.
The Capitol was in session at the time, overseeing Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
A large group broke through barriers at the pedestrian entrances to the building’s grounds. Several also entered the Capitol building after a mob smashed windows and forced open doors.
More than 100 police officers were injured in the chaos.
A House panel is currently investigating the events of that day.
However, Mr Trump told his supporters in Tennessee: “Let’s be clear. This is not a congressional investigation, this horrible situation that is wasting everybody’s time.
“This is a theatrical production of partisan political fiction that gets these terrible, terrible ratings and they go crazy. They go crazy.
“The committee is taking testimony from witnesses who defended me for eight hours, chopping it up and truncating audio clips to make it sound like what they said was absolutely terrible.”
He continued: “Remember, it was also (about) the people who weren’t even allowed to testify who wanted to do it. A lot of people wanted to go and testify about what they had seen and how much it was twisted.
“Meanwhile, the committee refuses to air any tapes of people saying the right things, the things we want to hear. It’s a one-way street. It’s a rigged deal. It’s a shame.”
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Responding to claims made during the hearing that he had called his then Vice President Mike Pence a “wimp” for not following his wishes and stopping endorsement of Mr Biden’s victory, Mr Trump told the crowd: “I never called Mike Pence. I never called him a wimp.
“Mike Pence had a chance to be great and he had a chance to be, frankly, historic. But…Mike, and I say this sadly because I like him, Mike didn’t have the courage to act.”
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The former president directed scathing criticism at fellow Republican Adam Kinzinger, who said Trump “ignited the flames” of the insurgency.
The congressman became emotional during his opening comments during the hearing.
Trump said: “Adam Kinzinger, the screamer. He cries every time he speaks. This guy has a mental disorder. He cries every time this guy gets up to speak, he starts crying. I said, he there’s something wrong with this guy.”
He is said to be actively considering whether he could officially launch a third presidential race.
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