Former President Donald J. Trump has refuted Cassidy Hutchinson’s claims that he wanted metal detectors removed at the Ellipse rally on January 6 in Washington, DC, so that people with weapons could enter to bolster the crowd size.
“Never complained about the crowd, it was massive,” Trump began in a post on Truth Social, adding:
I didn’t want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech. Who would ever want that? Not me! Besides, there were no guns found or brought into the Capitol Building. So where were all of these guns? But sadly, a gun was used on Ashli Babbitt, with no price to pay against the person who used it!
Hutchinson, who served as an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, asserted during the January 6 Committee hearing Tuesday that Trump called for the removal of metal detectors, otherwise known as magnetometers or “mags” at the Ellipses, so people – she claims he knew had weapons – could enter the rally venue for optical purposes.
He was furious because he wanted the arena that we had on the Ellipse to maxed out at capacity for all attendees. The advance team had relayed to him that the mags were free-flowing. Everybody who wanted to come in had already come in, but he still was angry about the extra space and wanted more people to come in.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) asserted that “weapons and other items” were confiscated from rallygoers who entered the rally area, adding that there were “several thousand members of the crowd who refused to go through the mags, and watched from the lawn of the Washington Monument.”
“Were you backstage with the President and other members of his staff and family?” Cheney later asked Hutchinson, to which the witness responded in the affirmative. The committee then played audio from her deposition, in which she alleged:
We were in the offstage announce area tent behind the stage. He was very concerned about the shot, meaning the photograph we would get because the rally space wasn’t full. One of the reasons, which I’ve previously stated was because he wanted it to be full and for people to not feel excluded because they had come far to watch him at the rally, and he felt the mags were at fault for not letting everybody in, but another leading reason and likely the primary reason its because he wanted it full and he was angry that we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons – what the Secret Service deemed as weapons and are weapons….
… But when we were in the offstage announce tent, I was part of a conversation, I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I heard the President say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f’ing mags away, let my people in. They can march the capital from here. Let the people in, take f’ing mags away.’
Hutchinson also asserted that she was present when White House Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato informed Meadows of reports of weapons among rally-goers.