In the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, former President Trump reportedly attempted to pressure the Secret Service to devise a plan for him to join his supporters on a march to the Capitol, two people briefed on witnesses’ accounts to congressional investigators told the Washington Post.
The Secret Service reportedly dismissed the then-President’s initial requests, according to the Post. But the agency was caught off guard on Jan. 6 as it rushed to accommodate Trump when he urged his supporters at the “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse to march to the Capitol — and suggested he would join them.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol,” Trump told the crowd as he demanded his supporters to pressure “weak” Republicans to subvert Joe Biden’s electoral victory on the day of the joint session of Congress.
Witnesses reportedly testified to the Jan. 6 Select Committee that Secret Service agents had to quickly alert D.C. police to block intersections shortly after Trump’s call to action to his supporters, people briefed on the testimony told the Post.
Police reportedly declined the Secret Service’s request due to lack of resources as local law enforcement monitored numerous protests and ultimately had to help assist with mob control as rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. The then-President’s detail leader did not believe that Trump’s idea to join his supporters in the march would be safe, a senior law enforcement official told the Post.
A spokesperson for the D.C. deputy mayor that oversees the police department, Dora Taylor-Lowe, confirmed to the Post that the police denied the Secret Service’s request for assistance with a presidential motorcade on Jan. 6.
Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi also confirmed to the Post there was never a formalized plan by agents in charge of Trump’s security to transport the then-President from the White House to the Capitol.
The Post’s report comes days before the Jan. 6 Select Committee is scheduled to begin its public hearings on its investigation into the events surrounding the insurrection. According to the Post, Guglielmi said the Secret Service is cooperating fully with congressional investigators’ request for information and documents about Secret Service planning for Trump’s movements on Jan. 6.
The committee is reportedly investigating Trump’s efforts to try to get the Secret Service to let him join the march. Additionally, the panel is probing if Trump and his aides played any role in encouraging the Secret Service to remove then-Vice President Mike Pence from the Capitol as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, targeting Pence and others.
Trump previously told the Post in April about his desire to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 — a request that the Secret Service ultimately rejected. The march itself was not authorized with a permit.