Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is still running to former President Donald Trump’s side to advance false information around how Trump handled the deadly Capitol riot that unfolded under his command.
Meadows made an appearance on Fox News on Thursday night in a breathless effort to rewrite history, falsely suggesting that Trump had not delayed activating the National Guard as a mob of his own supporters overwhelmed law enforcement and violently stormed the Capitol.
Here’s the claim from Meadows tonight that Trump didn’t delay at all with the National Guard Vs. multiple reports presented during the impeachment trial that contradict his claim pic.twitter.com/WdwBvOXwOq
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) February 12, 2021
The ex-White House official asserted to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that his former boss, who made a show of force against racial justice protesters in the summer before the 2020 presidential election, “did the same thing on January 6th.”
Meadows drummed up a narrative that does not hold up as the nation mourns the death of a Capitol police officer who was killed amid attempts to defend the Capitol from the president’s mob on Jan. 6 — that Trump has uniformly stood “on the side of law enforcement.”
“He didn’t delay at all, and so for them to put forth this narrative that’s not based on fact is a sad day,” Meadows said, adding: “he wanted our National Guard to be on the ready for any civil unrest that might be there.”
The comments come after House impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) argued a case on Thursday that claimed the former president had “delighted” in watching his supporters lay siege on the Capitol and did little to stop them.
“We all know that President Trump had the power to stop these attacks. He was our commander in chief. He had the power to assess the security situation, send backup, send help. He also had incited this violent attack. They were listening to him. He could have commanded them to leave,” Cicilline argued on Thursday. “But he didn’t.”
Meadows’ claim that Trump quickly activated the National Guard contradicts multiple reports from defense and administration offficials who have uniformly said that it was Vice President Mike Pence who approved the order to deploy the D.C. National Guard and that Trump who was reportedly glued to the TV watching his supporters lay siege on the Capitol in his name was ultimately bypassed in the decision.
Additional reporting from The New York Times on the day of the attack, indicated that President Trump had in fact initially resisted requests to mobilize the National Guard, and that intervention had been required from the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, among other officials, to ensure that forces could be deployed.
At one point during the attack, according to a six-hour timeline of Trump’s response to the attack reported by the Washington Post, Trump was finally coaxed by advisers into firing off a belated tweet urging his supporters to “stay peaceful” — a comment that fell quite short of telling demonstrators to leave Capitol grounds and comes nowhere near the immediate condemnation of the events that Meadows has claimed.
When Trump did finally denounce the acts of violence in a video a day later, he did so begrudgingly.
The Post’s reporting also challenges Meadows’ after-the-fact suggestion that Trump had been quick to quell the violence, by outlining how House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had made repeated efforts to reach the President and pleaded with Jared Kushner, one of the President’s senior advisers, to convince Trump to issue a statement demanding that supporters leave the Capitol.
In spite of all this, Meadows persisted on Thursday, minimizing the violence by saying, what happened “actually was not as graphic as was laid out over the last couple of days,” and by hammering the unsupported point that Trump “wanted to make sure that we respect law and order and was very forceful in that.”