Trump Dodges Questions on His Actions During Capitol Riot

Former president tells interviewer he'll consider pardoning Proud Boys leader if elected
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2023 3:55 PM CDT
Trump Refuses to Say Whether He Watched Capitol Riot on TV
In a prerecorded video message, President Donald Trump delivers a statement after rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot unfold on television, saying he would "tell people later at an appropriate time." Trump, the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, refused to say on NBC's Meet the Press how he spent Jan. 6, 2021, once the insurrection began and whether he made phone calls as his supporters stormed the seat of American democracy, the AP reports.

"I'm not going to tell you. I'll tell people later at an appropriate time," Trump told interviewer Kristen Welker after she asked if he spent that afternoon watching the attack on television in a dining room at the White House. Trump's former aides have said he sequestered himself in the room off the Oval Office to watch, at times even rewinding and rewatching parts. In the interview, taped Thursday at Trump's golf club in New Jersey, Trump refused to say whom he called as the violence unfolded. "Why would I tell you that?" he said. Pressed about his public silence during the violence, Trump said he had made "beautiful statements" on the day of the attack.

Trump's supporters, fueled by his lies about the 2020 presidential election, stormed the building as Congress prepare to certify Joe Biden's victory. Trump is facing federal criminal charges for his efforts to overturn his loss in that election but not charges related to the insurrection. More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot, and more than 600 have pleaded guilty or been convicted, per the AP. Trump said he might pardon some of them, including former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Trump said Tarrio was treated "horribly," according to a full transcript of the NBC interview, which included parts that were not aired.

(More Donald Trump stories.)

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