In a conspiracy-laden interview hours before his scheduled speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, former President Trump continued his streak of downplaying the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection that he helped incite and pushing bogus claims of a “stolen” presidential election.
Phoning into “Sunday Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” the former president took to pushing the “big lie” by claiming, without evidence, that social media giants — such as Facebook and Twitter, which banned him from their platforms after the Capitol insurrection that killed five people — had a “big part in rigging” the election as well as baseless accusations of fraudulent votes in Georgia and Arizona.
When the discussion turned to the Capitol insurrection, Trump misleadingly painted the attack that endangered lawmakers’ lives and was an effort to delegitimize the democratic process as a “lovefest” of “peaceful people.”
“There was such love at that rally, you had over a million people, they were there for one reason, the rigged election, they felt the election was rigged,” Trump said, while ignoring the widespread violence that occurred on Jan. 6 as a result of his fruitless efforts to overturn the election results. “That’s why they were there and they were peaceful people, these were great people, the crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word love, the love in the air I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Trump then continued his crusade of martyrizing Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was fatally shot as she tried to climb through a broken window during the insurrection. Since the Capitol insurrection over six months ago, Babbitt’s death has been used as an example of federal tyranny that has been embraced by Trump and his allies, with the former president egging on his supporters’ demands to identify the officer who fatally shot Babbitt.
“Who is the person that shot an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman, right in the head?” Trump said. “There is no repercussion — that were on the other side, it would be the biggest story in this country. Who shot Ashli Babbitt? People want to know and why.”
Bartiromo proceeded to bolster Trump’s attempts at martyrizing Babbitt, taking a cue from the former president by calling her a “wonderful woman.”
Referring to his remarks at a “Stop the Steal” rally hours before the Capitol attack — when he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results on the day of the joint session of Congress certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory — Trump insisted that he issued “a very mild-mannered speech,” and blamed the violence of Jan. 6 on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats by insinuating that it was their responsibility to prevent the violence of Jan. 6.
“They are the ones that were responsible,” Trump said.
Trump didn’t officially confirm whether he plans to run for 2024 during his interview on Fox News, but teased that he “absolutely knows” his answer.
“We’re going to do very well and people are going to be very happy,” Trump said, claiming he can’t announce his plans yet due to campaign financing reasons.
Trump’s latest remarks on Fox News echo his comments on Babbitt to a crowd last week.
“There were no guns in the Capitol, except for the gun that shot Ashli Babbitt,” Trump said on Wednesday, adding later: “Just boom — there was no reason for that.”
Trump’s remarks on Babbitt speak to the far-right’s fury over her death. Just days after Jan. 6, white supremacists expressed their outrage over Babbitt’s death with Telegram channels painting her as a martyr.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who openly associates with far-right figures, espoused a similar sentiment on Babbitt’s death. Gosar has demanded former federal officials to name the officer “who executed” Babbitt during hearings held to probe security lapses on the day of the Capitol insurrection.
“Six months ago today, Ashli Babbitt, a 110-pound woman with nothing in her hands, not a rock, not a stick or a bat, was shot dead by a still unknown Capitol Hill police officer,” Gosar said last week.
Listen to Trump’s remarks below:
Trump describes Ashli Babbitt, who was part of a mob that was trying to lynch the VP, as an "innocent, wonderful, incredible woman" pic.twitter.com/Et5DmYs8Y4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 11, 2021