Donald Trump said Friday that he would look “very, very seriously” at pardoning his supporters who were charged in last year’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol if he’s elected president again.
Trump complained at a speech in Nashville, Tennessee, that people who were arrested after storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, were “having their lives totally destroyed and being treated worse than terrorists and murderers.”
He added: “If I become president someday, if I decide to do it, I will be looking at them very, very seriously for pardons. Very, very seriously. They’ve been treated very unfairly.”
Trump hasn’t yet declared he’s running for the presidency.
He also falsely claimed that “most” of those arrested for the events of Jan. 6 were charged with nothing more than “parading through the Capitol.”
There is no such “parading” charge. The defendants have in fact been charged with assault — including causing serious bodily injury to police officers — as well as destruction of property, theft, conspiracy, seditious conspiracy and trespassing, among other offenses, according to the Department of Justice.
More than 840 people have been arrested. Rioters at the Capitol caused nearly $3 million in losses, including property damage, and some 140 police officers were injured in the violence.
Trump’s comments follow three televised hearings by the House select committee investigating the insurrection. The committee has revealed how Trump and his allies threatened to topple the democratic system — and how near former Vice President Mike Pence came to an angry mob that called for his hanging because he had refused Trump’s orders to reject the 2020 election results.
Staunch Trump supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said earlier this year that a prior call by Trump to pardon the insurrectionists was “inappropriate,” leading Trump to angrily attack Graham as a “RINO” (Republican in name only). “Lindsey Graham doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” Trump said.
The former president reiterated his position in his Nashville speech that Pence should have followed his orders and upended the election to keep Trump in the Oval Office.
“I never called Mike Pence a wimp,” he said, denying testimony at the hearing. “I never called him a wimp. Mike Pence had a chance to be great … I say it sadly, because I like him, but Mike did not have the courage to act.”