Cheney: Trump Said Capitol Attackers “Were Doing What They Should Be Doing”
Donald Trump speaks on January 6 2021.Gripas Yuri/Abaca via Zuma
Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.While rioters rampaged through the Capitol on January 6, President Donald Trump told staff with him that he approved of the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) revealed on Thursday during the first hearing of the select congressional panel investigating the attack.
“As you will see in the hearings to come, President Trump believed his supporters at the Capitol, and I quote, ‘Were doing what they should be doing,’” Cheney, the vice chair of the panel, said in her opening statement at the hearing.
It was already known that after insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on January 6 it took Trump more than three hours to tell the attackers to leave, even as aides, his family members, and frightened members of Congress pressed him to try to call off the mob he had incited. But Cheney revealed new information that Trump had not only rejected those pleas but vocally sided with the mob.
“You will hear testimony that the president did not really want to put anything out, calling off the riot or asking his supporters to leave,” Cheney said. “You will hear that Trump was yelling and angry at advisers who told him he needed to be doing something more.”
When Trump learned that attackers were calling to “hang Mike Pence,” because the vice president had refused to comply with Trump’s illegal call for Pence to assert his power to block the certification of electoral votes, Trump said he agreed with the mob. “Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” Trump said, according to Cheney. “Mike Pence deserves it,”
Cheney didn’t name the witnesses who provided this information to the committee, but she indicated the committee will reveal that information at upcoming hearings.