In a new interview, the former president claims he didn’t know it was his job to stop his followers from staging a coup.
For a man who infamously bragged that “I alone can fix it,” former President Donald Trump would like the public to know that when it comes to fomenting a violent insurrection, he didn’t actually think it was his job to fix anything.
In a new, characteristically rambling interview with The Washington Post published Thursday, the once and potentially future president claimed he didn’t know that he was supposed to say or do anything, after encouraging a mob of his most fervent supporters to march on Capitol Hill in an effort to overturn his 2020 electoral loss.
“I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking why isn’t she doing something about it? Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it?” Trump told the Post’s Josh Dawsey. “And the mayor of D.C. also. The mayor of D.C. and Nancy Pelosi are in charge.”
“I hated seeing it. I hated seeing it,” he continued. “And I said, ‘It’s got to be taken care of,’ and I assumed they were taking care of it.”
That Trump “assumed” Pelosi was somehow in a position to marshal a robust law enforcement response to the most severe attack on the U.S. Capitol Building since it was torched in the War of 1812 is ridiculous on its face, considering she was in the process of being evacuated to a secure location, while his seditious followers ransacked her office and tried to kill her (“the former president’s desperate lies aside, the speaker was no more in charge of the security of the U.S. Capitol that day than Mitch McConnell,” a Pelosi spokesman told the Post). And taking a step further back from that, we’re still talking about an event Trump himself instigated! The “I didn’t know it was my responsibility” argument makes about as much sense as an arsonist saying it’s someone else’s job to call the fire department — an excuse that means nothing when he’s the one who started the fire in the first place.
Still, given the tangled bureaucracy of Capitol Hill security — of which Pelosi is a part, but not in charge — it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which Trump, facing some as of yet still theoretical consequences for his role in the insurrection, could plausibly argue that he genuinely didn’t know he was in a position do something about it, creating just enough reasonable doubt to slip by, unmarred, as usual.
Which isn’t to say that he’s disavowing the attempted coup itself. Far from it. After noting to the Post that the only reason he didn’t personally join the mob in their march to the Capitol was that Secret Service refused to let him go, Trump — whether intentionally, or simply as the byproduct of his repetitious ego — harkened back to his first day in office, bragging that “the crowd [at the “Stop the Steal” rally] was far bigger than I even thought. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to.”
“I don’t know what that means, but you see very few pictures,” he continued. “They don’t want to show pictures, the fake news doesn’t want to show pictures.”
Sure thing, dude.