CLAIM: President Donald Trump failed to stop rioters who were “savagely beating and killing law enforcement officers.”
VERDICT: FALSE. While some rioters attacked police, they did not kill any; the only person killed was a fellow rioter.
The January 6 Committee held its eighth public hearing on Thursday, and its second in prime time. The event was billed as a crucial moment, the last scheduled hearing and one in which damning evidence would be revealed about Trump’s role.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chair of the committee, opened proceedings by addressing the hearing remotely, since he was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. He claimed that Trump was indifferent to the “beating and killing” of police officers:
For 187 minutes on January 6th, this man of unbridled destructive energy could not be moved. Not by his aides, not by his allies, not by the violent chants of rioters, or the desperate pleas of those facing down the riot. And more tellingly, Donald Trump ignored and disregarded the desperate pleas of his own family, including Ivanka and Don Jr. Even though he was the only person in the world who could call off the mob he sent to the Capitol [sic] he could not be moved to rise from his dining room table and walk a few steps down the White House hallway into the press briefing room, where cameras were anxiously and desperately waiting to carry his message to the armed and violent mob savagely beating and killing law enforcement officers revenging the Capitol and hunting down the Vice President and various members of Congress. He could not be moved. [Emphasis added.]
Thompson’s claim is false. Of the five people killed in connection with the riot, only one, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, was killed, shot by a law enforcement officers as she tried to climb through a broken window into the House of Representatives.
Three were protesters who died of unrelated causes. One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, passed away after the Capitol riot, but his death was not caused by the riot, as the media initially claimed, but rather by natural causes. Thompson is wrong.
Thompson also claimed that Trump “sent” the mob to the Capitol, though it has long been clear that the riot began before he told the crowd at his “Save America” rally, roughly a mile away, “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
And though Thompson — and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) — claimed that the rioters were “armed,” very few were, in fact, armed; there were very few arrests of rioters that involved firearms, and no firearms were discharged by rioters that day.
Thompson objected to the certification of the vote from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election, the very act that he and his colleagues on the committee have described as an attempt to overturn democracy, and insurrection against the Constitution.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.