Then-President Trump did not stick to a video script laid out for him after he was urged by officials to ask supporters to peacefully leave the Capitol on Jan. 6, the House committee said during Thursday’s hearing.
According to the committee, the original script for his speech stated: “I am asking you to leave the Capitol Hill region NOW and go home in a peaceful way.”
Trump did not recite that line, instead affirming that protesters were “special” and loved and began his video with repeated claims that the election was stolen. “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt,” he said at 4:07 p.m. from the White House Rose Garden. “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, but you have to go home now.”
He went on to state that such a thing has never happened in the country, “where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country.”
“I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace,” he said.
Nicholas Luna, former assistant to the president, said in video testimony that Trump’s words were “off the cuff.”
Witness Sarah Matthews, a former deputy press secretary in the Trump administration, said that the video was “disturbing.” After viewing it, she says she made her decision to resign and called her loved ones to let them know.
After Trump released his video, people in the White House felt like the day was “over,” said Eric Herschmann, former White House counsel, in his recorded deposition.
“People were pretty drained,” he said.