President Donald Trump insisted Tuesday his speech inciting the riot at the US Capitol was “totally appropriate” while at the same time calling for “no violence” in his first public remarks to reporters after the insurrection last week.
Trump assumed no responsibility for what happened last Wednesday, despite telling his supporters in the hour beforehand to “fight like hell.” And he did not specifically decry attempts to find and kill political leaders, including his own vice president.
Instead, speaking at the White House and later at Joint Base Andrews before departing for Texas, Trump suggested attempts by Democrats and tech companies to rein in his dangerous rhetoric could themselves lead to violence.
He falsely said those who’d analyzed his remarks before the deadly insurrection attempt had found no fault in them.
“They’ve analyzed my speech, my words,” he said. “Everybody to a T thought it was appropriate.”
It was a characteristically belligerent stance for a President who enters his final week in office under looming threat of a second impeachment. As he has previously, Trump sought to deflect blame on Democrats and equivocated on his own role in fomenting dangerous behavior.
He claimed the “real problem” is what other politicians said about protests over the summer in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
It was only in an aside that he said: “You always have to avoid violence.”