Former president Donald Trump hugged and consoled a woman who breached the Capitol during the January 6th insurrection at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, the Washington Post first reported.
In a clear attempt to appeal to the further-right members of his base, Trump embraced 54-year-old Micki Larson-Olson, a Trump über-fan who’d driven 30 hours to see him speak in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday.
“President Trump, will you please sign my Trump backpack that I carried up to Jan. 6?” she shouted, donning a red-white-and-blue ensemble with a matching wig. “I went to jail for 161 days for Jan. 6. I’m an Iraq War veteran.”
Larson-Olson was found guilty last September of a misdemeanor for resisting police efforts to clear the Capitol complex after the breach. According to the Justice Department, U.S. Capitol Police approached the Texas woman, “who was dressed in a Captain America costume and holding two flags in the air,” and repeatedly asked her to leave. But she refused and attached herself to a scaffolding with her arms and legs before swearing at the officers and calling them “traitors.”
“It took six officers who were forced to physically carry her from the scaffolding area as she screamed at and fought them,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia said.
“Patriots, I hear this woman,” Trump said in Manchester Thursday. At one point, he said that he thought the prosecution of Jan. 6 defendants was “so terrible.”
“It’s terrible,” he said. “What they’re saying is so sad, what they’ve done to Jan. 6.”
Trump has been skirting the line between supporting the insurrectionists and distancing himself from the attack since it occurred. Last year, for example, he blamed then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for not stopping the attack sooner.
But as he revs up his 2024 reelection campaign, he’s been leading more on the paranoiac wing of his base and taking on a more sinister, extremist tone. Trump held his first campaign event in Waco, Texas during the 30th anniversary of the deadly standoff. The venue was symbolic as a touchstone for anti-government extremists – he even played footage of the insurrection during the rally. And just Thursday Trump debuted a new campaign ad that repeatedly alluded to conspiracy theories about “globalists,” “elitists” and “the corrupt,” and unveiled a revised, pointed slogan: “Make America Great For Us Again.”
At the Manchester event, he signed Larson-Olson’s backpack, which was littered with Trump paraphernalia, and gave her the personalized marker he was using.
“It’s so surreal, I can’t believe that,” Larson-Olson said, tearing up, after he left. “The fact that the president knows my story … this most amazing man knows what I went through in the jail. … It’s just crazy. And he gave me the pen.”