In the months following the assault on the U.S. Capitol, Donald Trump led the GOP’s efforts to distort and reject the realities of the undemocratic and murderous riot that the former president himself started.
In her account, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed while trying to enter the Chamber’s bedroom on January 6, was not so much a rioter as she was an innocent, wonderful and incredible woman. And, in Trump’s mind, some of the police officers who defended the Capitol that day aren’t the real heroes, calling them liberal pussies who hate MAGA and outliers within an enforcement community of the largely pro-Trump law.
In private talks this summer, Trump told some people close to him that several of those officers viewed him as weak and pussies, according to two sources familiar with the comments and who independently described them. Trump also argued that these men appear broke[n] by the events of January 6, and that they lack the supposed tenacity or character of law enforcement officials who across the country still broadly support Trump and his policies.
According to these two people, and another source familiar with the matter, the twice-indicted former president also alleged that these police officers in particular are being used as pawns by anti-Trump Democrats, like President Nancy Pelosi ( D-CA), or just despise Trump and be Democrats themselves.
However, there have been times when the ex-president has expressed some pity for these men, saying he feels sorry for them, but mostly because Trump believes they are being used or exploited by his political enemies. , the person who knows the situation says.
A spokeswoman for Trump did not comment on the story Thursday evening.
Some of those officers, including DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, testified before the House Special Committee on January 6 on Tuesday about their experiences with the Trumpist mob.
Officer Michael Fanone testifies during the inquiry of the select committee into the insurgency of January 6.
Jim Lo Scalzo / Getty
These conversations took place weeks before the Capitol Hill hearing this week, which included testimony from several officers. But those who testified had spoken for months around January 6.
Fanone, in particular, has been visible in recent months, speaking out about the lingering trauma of that day and his frustration with GOP leaders as many of their grassroots members have followed Trump’s lead and moved all-in. January 6th. . Another DC police officer who testified this week, Officer Daniel Hodges, previously described the attack as a white nationalist insurgency.
Fanone did not respond to a request from The Daily Beast for comment on Trump’s private comments.
While the former president demeaned the officers who tried to repel the attack he instigated, members of his party struggled to figure out how exactly to balance their loyalty to Trump with the blue slogan back.
Most Republican lawmakers have alternately ignored or insulted the police officers who spoke out. Some were quite comfortable challenging the integrity of those who testified on Tuesday, not as crudely as Trump, but in a conspiratorial tone he probably appreciated.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who was appointed by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to sit on the Jan.6 panel until Pelosi vetoed the selection, appeared on Fox News Tuesday night and suggested that officers were reading scripts prepared by the speaker.
Even the statements these police officers read, you could sometimes tell they didn’t write the statements, Banks said. They were just reading them as they stumbled over some of the words they weren’t familiar with as they read.
Most Republicans, however, chose a safer route: simply not to engage in testimony, in an effort to avoid any explicit support or rejection from the officers who defended the Capitol that day, a state indeed remarkable for the visibly pro-police GOP.
Several GOP lawmakers, interviewed by The Daily Beast on Wednesday whether they had watched the hearing the day before, claimed they had not seen or only saw part of it.
Trump himself generally goes out of his way not to publicly mention officers who have been hailed as heroes in political and media circles, choosing instead to glorify rioters like Babbit or generally praise his Jan. 6 audience in Washington, DC. DC
Some right-wingers have described Ashli Babbitt as an innocent victim and not an insurgent who was killed while attempting to break into the House bedroom on January 6.
Stephanie Keith / Getty
A single Republican representative. Peter Meijer (R-MI), who voted to impeach Trump after Jan.6, said he watched the hearing. But he was wary when asked what he thought of it. I want this committee to be non-partisan, and I hope it sticks to that, he said.
The safest place for most Republicans, whether they voted for impeachment or voted to create an independent commission to investigate on Jan.6, has been to attack Democrats and Pelosi. Much of this stems from the speakers ‘decision to reject McCarthys’ nominations to the special committee, which included Banks and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), who was a surprise vote to impeach Trump, said the GOP made a big, big mistake by opposing an independent commission. But he also called the special committee a hell of a waste of time.
She just proved it was purely partisan, Rice said of Pelosi. And I have little hope that this creates either a fair representation of what happened.
But even Republicans McCarthy named to the Jan.6 panel admitted that what happened in the first hearing was powerful. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) told the Washington Post that one of the witnesses, U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Harry Dunn, was a friend and said those who wanted to hurt our officers and hurt people at inside this Capitol were to be detained. to the fullest extent of the law responsible for the crimes committed.
Dunn testified that after the rioters were kicked out of the Capitol on January 6, Davis spotted him in the rotunda and gave him a hug.
Many Democrats and certainly the two Republicans on the Jan.6 committee, Reps Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) were moved by Tuesday’s testimony. The four police officers in the witness stand each shared harrowing accounts of their experiences defending the Capitol on January 6 and how the lingering physical and emotional trauma affected their lives and livelihoods.
But they also came up with searing indictments of the politics of the rioters they looked down on and the person who helped get them there.
Hodges, an officer with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, clearly labeled the rioters terrorists, even reading the federal criminal law on domestic terrorism at one point.
And Hodges made headlines shortly after January 6 for telling NBC, it was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurgency that I’m glad I was able to help. We will do it as many times as it takes. “
Dunn, who is black, told how members of the crowd called him the N word after he told them he voted for Joe Biden, while noting the pro-Trump clothes of those who shouted racist insults. No one had ever, ever called me a ***** while I was in the uniform of a Capitol Police officer, Dunn said.
And several of the officers showed raw anger at GOP lawmakers who attempted to rewrite Jan.6 not as a violent subversion of democracy but as a normal sightseeing tour, as Rep. Andrew Clyde did (R -GA), or as a false flag hoax operation that was effectively carried out by antifa, as suggested by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
“I feel like I went to hell to protect them and the people in this room, but too many people now tell me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell isn’t that bad. “Fanone said, his voice rising. “The indifference shown to my colleagues is shameful.”
Fanone, in particular, spent weeks trying to secure a meeting with Parliamentary Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), one of Trump’s main allies, to discuss the January 6 response and the willingness of some of its members to adopt conspiracy theories on the day. When he did so in June, Fanone told the New York Times he asked McCarthy to denounce those lawmakers; he did not, and Fanone did not hesitate to link it to the political calculations of the GOP leaders.
When you’re obsessed with gaining power and ready to stomp on a bunch of cops, it’s disgusting, Fanone told The Times.
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