Trump calls rally before Capitol breach a 'lovefest' and 'beautiful thing'


Former President Trump in an interview late Sunday defended his response to the deadly rioting by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and called the rally where he spoke beforehand a "lovefest."

“It was tremendous numbers of people, not the Capitol, I’m talking about the rally itself. It was a lovefest. It was a beautiful thing,” Trump said to Steve Hilton on Fox News. 

During the "Stop the Steal" rally on the White House Ellipse, Trump urged thousands of his supporters to march on the Capitol and pressure lawmakers not to finalize Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. He told the crowd to display "strength" that day or risk losing the country. 

"You'll never take back our country with weakness," Trump said at the time. 

A mob later breached the Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and leading to several deaths and multiple injuries as a result of the chaos. 

Democrats impeached Trump weeks later on one article of inciting insurrection against the government. He was later acquitted by the Senate following a trial that took place after he left office. 

Trump said late Sunday he "hates" to the see the rioting at the Capitol and called the event "terrible." He also mentioned racial justice protests last summer, saying "nobody seems to be bothered by that." 

He also claimed he wanted 10,000 National Guard service members to be sent to the Capitol ahead of the rally, but "heard [congressional leadership] rejected it because it didn't look good." 

Trump said in a video message the night after the breach that he "immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders."

An AP fact check found that claim to be false, however. 

"While Trump was involved in discussions in the days prior to the Wednesday rioting about the National Guard response, he was not part of the decision-making that day," the AP reported. "Defense officials have said they didn’t speak to Trump on Wednesday. The Justice Department called the Capitol Police and offered FBI agents as the mob was descending, but the police turned down the offer. Justice called back a second time and help was accepted. Trump was not involved." 

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