The eighth Jan 6 House committee hearing which focused on the infamous “187 minutes” during which Capitol Hill was under siege have come to an end, filling in the gaps of what former president Donald Trump was doing at the time.
Trump, who was known for his penchant for using Twitter to communicate with his followers, had taken to Twitter on December 19, 2020 referring to alleged voter fraud substantiated by a 36-page report by Peter Navarro, an economist. In his tweet he wrote, “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
On January 3, 2021, Trump retweeted a post made by one of the organisers of the January 6 rally, Amy Kreemer. The post read, “We are excited to announce the site of our January 6th event will be The Ellipse in the President’s Park, just steps from the White House!”
In a draft tweet which the former president had approved sometime before the Jan 6 rally at The Ellipse but never got posted, Trump had urged supporters to attend a rally near the White House and subsequently march on Congress to prevent the election results from being certified.
The tweet read, ““I will be making a Big Speech at 10 a.m. on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the steal!.”
On January 6, Trump took to the stage at The Ellipse at 11:55 am till 1:12 pm. After finishing up at the rally, he reached the White House at 1:19 pm. By 1:25, he had taken to the private dining room in the Oval Office from where he watched the Jan 6 riots unfold.
At 1:49 pm, the former president tweeted a video of his speech at The Ellipse where he had claimed that the election had been “stolen.” At the same time, DC Metropolitan Police had declared a riot at Capitol Hill.
Just over half an hour later, Trump tweeted an attack at his vice president Mike Pence at 2:24 pm, stating, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
After a flurry of messages between his Chief of Staff and his son Donald Trump Jr as well as Republican lawmakers pleading for Trump to condemn the violence, he tweets the following at 2: 38 pm, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
At 3:13 pm, Trump tweets again, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Just over an hour later, at 4:17 pm, Trump tweets a video of himself standing in the Rose Garden saying that it was a “fraudulent election.” He tells the rioters to “go home, we love you. You’re very special.” Twitter subsequently takes down the video.
In his last tweet of the day at 6:01 pm, Trump tweets, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
On January 7, Trump conceded defeat in the 2020 presidential election and condemned the rioters for attacking Capitol Hill. He posts a 2:37 minute speech on Twitter calling the attack “heinous” and that he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.”