Then-President Trump’s call for his supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was planned in advance, and he intended to go with them, evidence presented at Tuesday’s congressional hearing on the insurrection showed.
“He stoked their anger. He called for them to the fight for him. He directed them to the U.S. Capitol. He told them he would join them. And his supporters believed him, and many headed towards the Capitol,” said House Select Committee member Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.). “As a result, people died. People were injured. Many of his supporters lives have never been the same.”
A draft tweet obtained by the Jan. 6 House select committee showed that prior to the insurrection, Trump had written: “I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the steal!!”
Trump never sent the tweet.
The committee also presented texts among Trump’s supporters in the days leading up to the insurrection that suggested that Trump’s call for his supporters to march on the Capitol was premeditated. A text from far-right activist Ali Alexander at 7:19 a.m. Jan. 5 read: “Tomorrow: Ellipse then US Capitol. Trump is supposed to order us to Capitol at end of his speech but we will see.”
Murphy explained that in the day prior to Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, the president and his aides and speechwriters fought over the content of the speech. “That speech devolved into a call to action to a call to fight,” she said, pointing to a speech revision at 5:05 p.m. on Jan. 5 that added: “All of us are here today, do not want to see our election victory stolen by beholden radical left Democrats, our country has had enough we will not take it anymore. Together, we will stop the steal.”
Trump’s edits continued into the morning of Jan. 6. When he finally delivered the speech, he added lines calling for his supporters to fight, and for Vice President Mike Pence to “be strong” in order to “take back our country.”