Donald Trump has offered potentially his most deranged statement regarding the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol to date, telling reporters outside his Florida estate on Thursday that the 2021 attack was “an insurrection caused by Nancy Pelosi.”
Trump made the comment just after a Supreme Court hearing wrapped up about whether he will be permitted on Colorado’s 2024 ballots—an issue that’s still being debated by the high court.
Trump didn’t elaborate on how the Jan. 6 riot, which was carried out by thousands of self-proclaimed Trump supporters, could possibly be tied to Rep. Pelosi (D-CA). Instead, he wrongly claimed that he made only “very beautiful, very heartwarming statements” on the day of the attack, suggesting he wasn’t the person who incited the violence.
“I heard, and I watched, and the one thing I’ll say is they kept saying about what I said right after the insurrection, which I think was an insurrection caused by Nancy Pelosi,” he said. “I said peacefully and patriotically... Take a look at the statements I made before and after, and you’ll see a whole different dialogue.”
President Trump on January 6th: "If you take a look at my words right after, you take a look at my speech from the Rose Garden which was very shortly after...I said 'peacefully and patriotically' pic.twitter.com/0PeEE0gXYk
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 8, 2024
Aaron Bennett, a spokesperson for Pelosi, called out just how bizarre the claim was in a statement to The Daily Beast.
“No matter what unhinged lies Trump spews about the insurrection he instigated, as numerous independent fact-checkers have confirmed, Speaker Pelosi did not plan her own assassination,” he said.
Trump faces federal charges in an election subversion trial, which partially stem from him not acting to stop the violence during the initial stages of the riot. While the Capitol was being overrun, and minutes after Vice President Mike Pence was evacuated, Trump tweeted that day, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
In typical fashion on Thursday, the former president’s bizarre statement about the California congresswoman was just the beginning of a rambling press conference that spanned from him claiming he was leading in each election poll to alleging, with zero evidence, that Joe Biden is committing “election interference.”
Trump referred to the Capitol attack as an insurrection multiple times in his spiel, contradicting his earlier comments that insisted what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, wasn’t an insurrection.
He blurred the lines on whether he believes what happened was an insurrection or not in the closing of his rant, after answering a question from a reporter.
“I think it was an insurrection caused by Nancy Pelosi,” he repeated. “This was an insurrection, if it was an insurrection, which, there were no guns, there were no anything, except for the fact that they shot Ashli Babbitt. Somebody from, at least four, shot Ashli Babbitt. So unnecessary, so sad, so horrible. But there were no guns. There were no anything.”
Babbitt was the lone rioter to be shot and killed by police during the riot, with a Capitol officer opening fire on her as she attempted to break into the building through a shattered window.
Those arrested for participating on Jan. 6 have admitted to carrying guns into the Capitol, though none have been charged with opening fire.