In his first network interview since leaving office, former President Donald Trump asserted that former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility for the events of January 6th.
During a recent interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, Trump claimed, “Nancy Pelosi was in charge of security. She turned down 10,000 soldiers. If she didn’t turn down the soldiers, you wouldn’t have had Jan. 6.”
When pressed about whether he had contacted military or law enforcement on that day, Trump refrained from providing a direct response, emphasizing, “I behaved so well, I did such a good job, Nancy Pelosi turned down 10,000 soldiers… if she didn’t do that…” Welker challenged Trump, noting that Pelosi did not possess the same authority as the commander-in-chief.
Trump countered by asserting, “I understand that the police testified against her, the chief very strongly against her, the Capitol police, great people. They testified against her, and they burned all the evidence. OK? They burned all the evidence. They destroyed all the evidence about Nancy Pelosi.”
He further argued, “She has authority over the Capitol. National Guard not coming? I asked her [for them] to be there three days in advance, and she turned it down.”
Welker interjected, saying, “She says that that request was never officially made.” Trump responded by referring to a letter from the D.C. mayor that indicated Pelosi’s refusal.
He continued, “The police commissioner of Capitol police…” before being interrupted by Welker. Undeterred, he insisted, “Capitol police said that he wanted it, and Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t accept it. She’s responsible for Jan. 6.”
Trump also criticized the Jan. 6 committee for not interviewing Pelosi, to which he said, “Nancy Pelosi’s responsible, and the Jan. 6 committee refused to interview her.”
In response to the interview, a representative for Pelosi refuted Trump’s claims, stating, “As our office has said before, the former president’s allegations are completely made up,” and added, “As numerous independent fact-checkers have confirmed, Speaker Pelosi did not plan her own assassination.”
The decision regarding the deployment of National Guard troops to the Capitol is under the purview of the Capitol Police Board, consisting of the House sergeant at arms, the Senate sergeant at arms, and the architect of the Capitol.
The board opted not to request the guard’s assistance before January 6th but eventually did so after the riot had commenced, with troops arriving several hours later.
Both the sergeants at arms and the former Capitol Police Chief, Steven Sund, have provided conflicting accounts of who made requests for the guard and when. Following the attack, all three officials resigned from their positions. The Jan. 6 House committee, led by Democrats, did not subpoena Pelosi.
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Sund claimed in an interview with The Washington Post that he had sought assistance six times before and during the Capitol attack, but his requests were either denied or delayed.
He asserted that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving had concerns about the optics of declaring an emergency before the protests and rejected the presence of the National Guard.
When asked by Welker if he believed he demonstrated leadership on that day, Trump replied affirmatively, saying, “Yes, absolutely, I did.”
Trump also disputed claims made by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson before the Jan. 6 committee, alleging that he had grabbed a Secret Service agent by the neck and demanded to head to the Capitol.
He declined to divulge how he observed the events of January 6th unfolding, promising to share that information at a later time. He did recall, however, that outside the Oval Office on January 6th, 2021, he urged people to go home and praised the police, although Welker noted that this occurred hours after the riot had started.