Official describes the president as a 'total monster' who refused to act as Congress was stormed
- As a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, President
Donald Trumpdefended the insurrectionists to White House aides, an administration official told The Washington Post.
- The unnamed official quoted Trump as repeatedly saying "my people are peaceful" and "my people aren't thugs" and added that the president was reluctant to condemn them.
- According to The Post, aides were astonished at Trump's slow response to the violence, with the official calling the president a "total monster."
- While aides eventually persuaded Trump to record a video, he apparently went against their wishes and ad-libbed sections of the speech, continuing to push the false claim that he won the 2020 election.
President Donald Trump privately defended his supporters as they stormed the Capitol on Wednesday and contradicted aides by ad-libbing parts of the recorded speech in which he told rioters to go home, The Washington Post reported.
As Trump supporters raided the Capitol during a joint session of Congress, the president defended their actions back at the White House, an administration official told The Post.
"He kept saying: 'The vast majority of them are peaceful. What about the riots this summer? What about the other side? No one cared when they were rioting. My people are peaceful. My people aren't thugs,' " the unnamed official said, referring to the unrest last summer tied to the Black Lives Matter movement.
"He didn't want to condemn his people."
"He was a total monster today," the official added, saying it was a worse day than when Trump defended the people who took part in the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
According to The Post, aides were astonished that Trump was so slow to respond to the violence and so combative toward efforts to get him to address the situation publicly.
"He didn't want to say anything or do anything to rise to the moment," the official told the newspaper. "He's so driven by this notion that he's been treated unfairly that he can't see the bigger picture."
The Post said Trump refused aides' requests for him to call in to Fox News. He eventually posted a recorded video on Twitter in which he told protesters to go home. Politico noted that the release of that video came about 2 1/2 hours after rioters first stormed the Capitol.
But the president went off-script while delivering remarks for that video, going against aides' wishes to continue the false claim that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him, The Post reported.
In the video, Trump told his supporters: "This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you; you're very special."
That video helped get him temporarily locked out of Twitter.
Twitter said Trump had removed the tweets that led to his suspension from the platform and that the president would get his account back after a 12-hour block.
A joint session of Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's election victory at about 3:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. The session was disrupted by Wednesday's attack on the Capitol - with lawmakers evacuated and told to wear gas masks - but resumed at about 8 p.m. Wednesday after the Capitol was secured.
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