Sarah Matthews, the former deputy press secretary of the White House, spoke to the January 6 committee on Thursday about Donald Trump’s inaction during the Capitol riots. Responding to a question from Adam Kinzinger, Matthews said that the former President could have made a statement “almost instantly” if he wanted to.
“It would take probably less than 60 seconds from the Oval Office dining room over to the press briefing room”, Matthews told the nine-member House Select Committee.
Matthews, 27, revealed that there is a camera in the White House briefing room that is “on at all times.” The former deputy press secretary added, “So, if the President had wanted to make a statement and address the American people, he could have been on camera almost instantly.”
Trump could have also assembled the White House press corps “in a matter of minutes” if he wanted to deliver an address from the Oval Office on January 6, 2021, Matthews testified.
Pat Cipollone, Trump’s former White House counsel, also made similar statements in Thursday’s prime-time hearing. He supported an “immediate and forceful” response from Donald Trump to the mob gathering outside the Capitol, according to his testimony.
Cipollone said during the interaction that “I can generically say that I said that people need to be told, there needs to be a public announcement, fast, that people need to leave the Capitol.”
Adam Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans on the panel, said that witnesses told the committee they were worried about Trump delivering a live statement with “unscripted comments.”
The committee, in its final public hearing of the month, will focus on investigating the “187” minutes of Trump’s inaction as his supporters broke in the Capitol complex in Washington DC.