Trump was ‘manifestly false’ in claiming the Capitol rioters posed ‘zero threat,’ said his former chief of staff

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald J. Trump meets with President of the Republic of Colombia Iván Duque Márquez in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday, March 02, 2020 in Washington, DC
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald J. Trump meets with President of the Republic of Colombia Iván Duque Márquez in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday, March 02, 2020 in Washington, DC

  • Trump’s former chief of staff said it was “manifestly false” of the ex-president to suggest the Capitol rioters posed “zero threat.”
  • Trump claimed last week that the rioters on January 6 posed “zero threat.”
  • Five people including a police officer died as a result of the attack.
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Donald Trump’s ex-chief of staff has said that it was “manifestly false” of the former president to suggest that a mob of his supporters who breached the Capitol building in January posed “zero threat.”

Mick Mulvaney, who resigned as the White House special envoy to Northern Ireland after the deadly January 6 riot, told CNN that he was “surprised” to hear the president say his supporters were “hugging and kissing” police officers. Five people, including a police officer, died as a result of the attack.

“I was surprised to hear the President say that,” Mulvaney told CNN.

“Clearly there were people who were behaving themselves, and then there were people who absolutely were not, but to come out and say that everyone was fine and there was no risk, that’s just manifestly false – people died, other people were severely injured.”

“It’s not right to say there was no risk. I don’t know how you can say that when people were killed,” he said.

Last week, Trump spoke to Fox News about the events of January 6 in comments that significantly represented the nature of the attack. Hundreds of his supporters had breached police lines to enter the Capitol building after the president repeatedly and falsely claimed the election had been “stolen” from him due to widespread voter fraud.

“It was zero threat right from the start – it was zero threat,” Trump told Fox News on Thursday.

“Look, they went in. They shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in and they’re hugging the police and the guards. They had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in, and then they walked out.”

Around 140 officers were injured during the attack, according to the head of the Capitol Police union.

Mulvaney, who served as Acting Chief of Staff between January 2019 and March 2020, was one of several senior Trump officials who resigned in the wake of the attack. During the siege, he had criticized President Trump for failing to issue a stronger statement condemning the violence and urging supporters to go home.

Despite his condemnation of Trump’s behavior around the Capitol riot, Mulvaney told CNN he would “absolutely” support Trump if he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

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Trump’s former chief of staff says he never believed supporters would take his comments ‘literally’

Mick Mulvaney Donald Trump
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

  • Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said he never thought Donald Trump’s supporters would take the president’s statements and rhetoric at face value.
  • “I never thought I’d see what I saw on Wednesday,” Mulvaney said during an NBC interview. “Yes, the rhetoric was very high and very fiery. You and I both know; however, that American politicians do this on a regular basis.”
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Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s former acting chief of staff, said he was shocked by the deadly Capitol Hill siege on Wednesday, partly because he never thought Trump’s supporters would take his statements and rhetoric at face value.

“It’s different … that people took him literally. I never thought I’d see that,” Mulvaney said during an interview with NBC host Chuck Todd on Sunday. “I never thought I’d see a day in our country where people from any side of the political spectrum would storm the Capitol in order to intentionally stop the constitutional transfer of power.”

Mulvaney, a former US House Representative, said he based his previous assumptions about Trump on his experience at the White House. The former acting chief of staff recalled that during a political crisis, the president consulted with his advisers, including his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy; and “bunch of his friends from New York,” before making an educated decision.

According to Mulvaney, that system “clearly … has broken down,” and he did not know “what’s going on inside the president’s head.”

“I had stories, I had background, I had seen that type of president,” Mulvaney said. “I never thought I’d see what I saw on Wednesday. Yes, the rhetoric was very high and very fiery. You and I both know; however, that American politicians do this on a regular basis.”

“That’s what different, Chuck. The country is different than I expected,” Mulvaney added. “It’s not the same as it was in those previous examples.”

Mulvaney had previously written an opinion column published in The Wall Street Journal titled, “If He Loses, Trump Will Concede Gracefully.”

Critics panned Mulvaney’s op-ed in the wake of Trump’s actions after the November election and immediately before the Capitol Hill siege that killed at least five people, including one US Capitol Police officer. Hours before the violence, Trump hosted an event near the White House to galvanize supporters to “never concede” in disputing the results of the presidential election.

At the time, a joint session of Congress was in session to count the 2020 presidential race’s Electoral College votes.

Rioting Trump supporters later stormed the halls of Congress, some threatening to kill congressional leaders, including Republicans, for their unwillingness to challenge the results of the election.

Despite the majority of lawmakers from both chambers voting to certify the results, a handful of Republican lawmakers formally objected to the counting, raising debunked theories of widespread voter fraud and lending credence to conspiracy theories that have repeatedly been struck down by federal judges.

Mulvaney became Trump’s third chief of staff in 2019, after Homeland Security secretary John Kelly and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. He was replaced a year later by Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

Mulvaney later went on to become the special US envoy to Northern Ireland. He resigned on Wednesday, after the riots.

“I just, I can’t do it,” Mulvaney said during a CNBC interview. “I can’t stay.”

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