Donald Trump offered up a strange scapegoat for the Jan. 6 insurrection in a new interview.
The former president accused former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of allowing mobs of violent Trump supporters to overtake the U.S. Capitol by allegedly turning down his offer to activate the National Guard.
Thousands of people descended on Capitol Hill to try and stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, following Trump’s repeated lies about a stolen election.
A bipartisan Senate report released last June connected seven deaths to that day’s violence, and late last year, the House January 6 committee accused Trump of engaging in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Rioters personally targeted Pelosi on Jan. 6. People stalked the halls of Congress chanting, “Nancy! Oh Nancy! We’re looking for you!” Others vandalized her office and wreaked havoc throughout the building.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks at the White House on August 16, 2023.
But Trump ignored those facts while speaking to Kristen Welker during an interview on “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday.
In a remarkable effort at rewriting history, Trump claimed that Pelosi could have prevented that day’s chaos and violence if she’d accepted Trump’s offer to use the National Guard ahead of Jan. 6, when he planned to host a “Stop the Steal” rally near the Capitol.
“She turned down 10,000 soldiers,” Trump said, claiming that Pelosi was in charge of security of the Capitol. “If she didn’t turn down the soldiers, you wouldn’t have had January 6th.”
“Capitol police said that he wanted it and Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t accept it,” Trump said. “She’s responsible for January 6th.”
Welker countered that Pelosi says Trump never officially requested her permission to ready the National Guard, although the journalist appeared unable to thoroughly fact-check Trump during their exchange.
The speaker of the House does not control security of the Capitol, nor do they control requests for the National Guard. Those decisions lie instead with the Capitol Police Board, who have offered conflicting accounts of the events prior to and on Jan. 6.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during the Pray Vote Stand summit in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15, 2023.
According to an investigation by The New York Times, Pelosi approved a request for reinforcements from House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving at around 1:43 p.m. that day, a full two hours before the Pentagon gave the District of Columbia National Guard commander permission to deploy troops.
While Trump had plenty to say about Pelosi’s alleged mistakes, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination refused to say whether he moved to subdue the attack once it was underway.
“I’m not going to tell you anything,” Trump told Welker. “I assumed that [Pelosi] took care of it.”
Pelosi responded to Trump’s claims during an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday, telling reporter Jonathan Capehart: “The former occupant of the White House has always been about projection. He knows he’s responsible for that, so he projects it onto others.”
Watch Trump’s full interview on “Meet the Press” here.