Former US president Donald Trump has asserted that he and his supporters wanted the same thing during the 6 January Capitol riot: overturning the election of Joe Biden.
“Personally, what I wanted is what they wanted,” Mr Trump is quoted as saying in an excerpt, published on Monday in Vanity Fair, for the book I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.
In the book, authored by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Mr Trump again alleged the 2020 US election was “rigged” and said he believed the rioters “showed up just to show support.”
“They showed up just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before,” he said. “There’s tremendous proof. Statistically, it wasn’t even possible that [Biden] won. Things such as, if you win Florida and Ohio and Iowa, there’s never been a loss,” he claimed.
The authors say Mr Trump, at various points in their interview with him, presented other examples of “what he called proof the election had been stolen from him.”
Mr Trump, during the interview, alleged thousands of dead people and illegal immigrants voted in the 2020 US election, pointing to “lists of obituaries.”
“Take all of the dead people that voted, and there were thousands of them, by the way. We have lists of obituaries,” he said. “If you take the illegal immigrants that voted. If you take this — Indians that got paid to vote in different places. We had Indians getting paid to vote! Many, many different things, all election-changing,” he continued to argue.
When the authors asked him what his goal on 6 January was and what he hoped his supporters would do after he told them to march on the Capitol, Mr Trump remarked on the size of the “loving” crowd.
“I would venture to say I think it was the largest crowd I had ever spoken [to] before,” he said. “It was a loving crowd, too, by the way. There was a lot of love. I’ve heard that from everybody. Many, many people have told me that it was a loving crowd. It was too bad, it was too bad that they did that,” he added.
However, when the authors pressed him again, Mr Trump said “he had hoped his supporters would show up outside the Capitol but not enter the building.”
Mr Trump also said there was “plenty of tape” on the Capitol Police “ushering people in,” referring to the mob that surrounded the building.
“In all fairness, the Capitol Police were ushering people in. The Capitol Police were very friendly. They were hugging and kissing. You don’t see that. There’s plenty of tape on that,” Mr Trump said.
The authors note that the ex-president did not mention numerous incidents of “horrific violence… that of a riotous mob shoving a police officer to the ground, later threatening to shoot him with his own gun, or that of an insurrectionist bashing a flagpole into another police officer’s chest, or that of yet another officer howling in pain as he was compressed in a closing door.”
Mr Trump instead told the authors: “What I wanted is what they wanted.”
More than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the 6 January Capitol riot. Five people died in connection with the incident, among them Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. More than 100 other police officers were injured during the riots.
Mr Trump also commented on top Republican officials in the book as well, including former Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and former House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan.
Mr McConnell was called a “stupid person” by Mr Trump. “I don’t think he’s smart enough,” he added. Mr Trump said Mr Ryan was a “super-RINO (Republican in name only)”.
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