Trump: Capitol riot "zero threat, right from the start"

There’s spin, and then there’s … this. Donald Trump called into Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News to discuss the Capitol riot, and Trump considers the whole issue overblown. “It was zero threat, right from the start,” Trump says, which is a curious way to describe a riot that produced injuries to 138 police officers (at least 15 of whom had to be hospitalized) and five deaths, and features assaults with baseball bats and bear spray, much of which was captured on camera and promoted by the participants of the riot:

TRUMP: … it would have been burned down to the ground. [crosstalk] Those are the ones you have to worry about.

INGRAHAM: Are you concerned that the US Capitol after January 6th has become a fortress, protecting the Capitol from the people who are actually supposed to be the ones in charge here, not the people who are sitting in the Capitol surrounding themselves by razor wire?

TRUMP: I think it’s disgraceful. It looks for the world to watch — absolutely, it’s a political maneuver that they’re doing. It was zero threat, right from the start it was zero threat. Look, they went in, and they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out. And I’ll tell you what, they’re doing things to them — they’re persecuting a lot of those people. And some of them … some things should happen to them. But when I look at the Antifa in Washington, even, what they did to Washington and what they did to other locations and the destruction, and frankly the killing and the beating up of people and nothing happens to them whatsoever? Why aren’t they going after Antifa?

The what about Antifa is a political argument, one that will find some traction among Trump’s supporters. However, let’s point out that the Antifa issues are mainly local crimes rather than federal, plus some of those have been prosecuted. And not to put too fine a point on this, but the reason more of them have not is because Antifa members aren’t dumb enough to take selfies in the middle of their crimes and post them on social media.

Trump needs to spin this as a love-fest in order to get out from under the political accountability for the riot, which is why we’re hearing his typical spin about hugging and kissing police officers. The videos all tell a much different story. As far as the hundreds who have been identified from the videos and charged with crimes, they’re being prosecuted, not persecuted, and they will have the opportunity to defend themselves in court. Given the evidence seen in the videos, they’re going to have a hell of a time arguing that the attacks seen on the police line were love taps.

Finally, these defendants and those who support them might want to ask themselves this. If Trump really thought that this was a love fest and that they did nothing wrong, why didn’t he issue a blanket pardon to protect them from that supposed “persecution”? It’s easy for him to spin this from the cheap seats now, but Trump didn’t step up for them when it really counted. Maybe that’s something people should consider over the next couple of years, too.