Trump says US was ‘respected all over the world’ on Jan 6 as he’s challenged by Biden over Capitol attack

Joe Biden confronted Donald Trump for the first time in person about his role on January 6, asking him to denounce the far-right Proud Boys gang and the other rioters who attacked the US Capitol.

In their first debate ahead of the 2024 presidential election, Trump refused to say whether he would condemn the deadly attack.

He failed to respond to questions about voters who are concerned that Trump violated his oath to accept elections as they prepare to cast their ballots in the next one.

CNN moderator Jake Tapper tried to ask him twice.

“Let me tell you about January 6,” said Trump, rattling off claims that “we had a great border” and “we were respected all over the world” on that day.

“And then he comes in and we’re not laughed at like a bunch of stupid people,” he said, referring to Biden.

Near the end of the 90-minute debate, moderator Dana Bash asked Trump three times whether he would accept election results.

Trump demurred and said that he’ll accept the results of a “fair, legal and good election,” then raised baseless claims of fraud that cost him the 2020 presidential election.

Donald Trump refuses to condemn the January 6 attack during a debate with Joe Biden on June 27 (AP)
Donald Trump refuses to condemn the January 6 attack during a debate with Joe Biden on June 27 (AP)

Earlier, he repeatedly falsely claimed that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Pelosi turned down National Guard troops that he had offered on January 6, 2021, which are under the command of the president. He claimed that Pelosi is on tape saying that she takes “responsibility,” but the clip he references includes the California lawmaker saying that she “takes responsibility for not having them just prepare for more” that day.

Trump also insisted that he told protesters to act “peacefully and patriotically.”

“What they’ve done to some people that are so innocent, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, what you have done,” he told Biden.

The former president has called the hundreds of criminal defendants accused of participating in the Capitol attacks “patriots” and “hostages.” He has promised mass pardons, if elected.

“The idea that those people are patriots? C’mon,” Biden said. “Will you denounce the people who attacked the Capitol? What are you going to do?”

The moment marked the first time that Biden or any Democratic official directly asked the former president about his role on January 6.

Trump is criminally charged with leading a national conspiracy to overturn the results of election in states he lost to Biden, and then failing to stop the mob that sought to do it by force.

A mob of Donald Trump’s supporters broke through barricades and into the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. (REUTERS)
A mob of Donald Trump’s supporters broke through barricades and into the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. (REUTERS)

He had pleaded not guilty to cases against him in Washington DC and in Georgia.

“I did nothing wrong,” Trump said on Thursday. “We’d have a system that was rigged and disgusting ... He indicted me because I was his political opponent.”

During a September 2020 debate, Trump told the neo-fascist Proud Boys gang to “stand back and stand by.”

Months later, members of the gang conspired to attack the Capitol during a joint session of Congres to certify election results, then clashed with law enforcement and broke through the building.

Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and three of its members were found guilty of treason-related charges in connection with the iolent riots.

Tarrio and three lieutenants were convicted of seditious conspiracy last year. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Tarrio, as the group’s leader, organized and directed a mob towards the Capitol, where Proud Boys dismantled barricades and broke windows to breach the halls of Congress, then bragged about their actions on social media and in group chat messages that were later shared with jurors.

The Supreme Court is imminently expected to decide whether Trump is “immune” from criminal charges for actions taken while he was in office.