The January 6th committee finally released its much-hyped report on Thursday to ecstatic fanfare from a press that has made it an obsession. With that report came multiple criminal referrals of former President Donald Trump.
Early leaks previously revealed what the outline would be, and as expected, it was “orange man bad” on steroids. Despite Trump not being present at the Capitol on January 6th and never telling anyone to become violent, the report was almost singularly focused on his supposedly culpability, to the point of appearing parodic. They didn’t even try to keep up the pretense that the committee was anything but a mission to get one man.
Now, Trump has come out swinging in response.
EXCLUSIVE: Trump Reacts to J6 Committee Final Report pic.twitter.com/W1nIOage50
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) December 23, 2022
Trump opens with some of the more glaring lies told by Liz Cheney and company. That includes their omission of the fact that the former president specifically asked protesters to remain peaceful. They also claimed Trump didn’t address the situation for 187 minutes, using that to charge dereliction of duty (already a stretch, regardless). That was false, as he had put a tweet 25 minutes into the unrest urging people to respect law enforcement.
The former president also says in the video that he wanted to send National Guard troops to the Capitol Building on January 6th but that he was rebuffed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. He went further, noting that the committee barely discussed the actual security failures that took place. Later in the video, Trump says that the “unselect committee” did not produce any evidence that he intended or wanted the violence that happened at the Capitol Building to occur.
Naturally, Trump also claims that he was cheated during the 2020 election, an inclusion in the video that I’m sure will ruffle some feathers. From there, he drifts into complaints about the FBI and the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Finally, at the end of the video, Trump says “the people aren’t going to stand for it,” which is exactly the kind of language that was claimed to have been inciteful by the January 6th committee. I’m sure that wasn’t an accident and was meant to tweak the members of the committee.
All in all, it was a fairly predictable response. There’s nothing in it the former president hasn’t said dozens of times on Truth Social. Past that, will anything he said matter? Almost certainly not. No one is changing their mind about January 6th at this point. Those that believe it was a planned, incited insurrection are going to go to their graves believing that (no matter how much evidence to the contrary), and there is absolutely nothing Trump can say to change their mind. He’s more talking to his supporters than anything at this point, letting them know he’s not afraid to speak his mind on the topic.
That really only leaves the question of how politically smart it is for him to keep hammering away at this, thereby keeping it in the news. The committee no doubt wanted Trump to lash out, and there was never any doubt he would. That’s who he is, and it’s not changing. Trump is not going to sit idle in the face of any attack, and I don’t think anyone expected him to. From there, people can argue over whether he’s hurting himself more than he’s helping himself at this point.