By Naveen Athrappully
Former President Donald Trump is accusing Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of being primarily responsible for the Capitol breach on Jan. 6 as she turned down his offer of deploying 10,000 soldiers prior to the incident.
“I offered 10,000 people to the mayor of Washington D.C. and Nancy Pelosi … and they turned it down flat,” President Trump said in a Sept. 17 interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Nancy Pelosi, who was then the House speaker, “was in charge of security. She turned down 10,000 soldiers. If she didn’t turn down the soldiers, you wouldn’t have had January 6th.”
He dismissed claims that the National Guard offer was never officially made to Ms. Pelosi.
“The mayor of D.C. gave us a letter, saying that she turns it down, OK? We have it. Nancy Pelosi also was asked, and she turned it down,” he said, adding that the police commissioner of the Capitol Police said that he wanted the troops. “And Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t accept it. … Nancy Pelosi is responsible. And the J6 Committee refused to interview her.”
When interviewer Kristen Welker asked why President Trump did not “send help in that moment” during the Capitol breach, he replied, “I assumed that Pelosi took care of it.”
“I understand that the police testified against her—the chief, very strongly against her. Capitol Police, they’re great people. They testified against her.”
President Trump said the Jan. 6 committee “destroyed all the evidence” related to the incident.
Dispute Over Authority
In an interview with The Epoch Times in July 2022, former Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel—who is also an Epoch Times contributor—said that President Trump authorized up to 20,000 National Guard troops days before Jan. 6. However, “Pelosi and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser rejected it.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) accused President Trump of not deploying the National Guard to protect the Capitol. Mr. Patel dismissed the suggestion, saying that such a move would have been unlawful.
“Cheney knows it’s unconstitutional for any president to ever order the military to deploy domestically. He may only authorize their use, then there must be a request,” Mr. Patel said.
The Capitol Police Board is in charge of deciding whether to call in the National Guard. The board is made up of the Architect of the Capitol, the House sergeant-at-arms, and the Senate sergeant-at-arms.
The House sergeant-at-arms reported to Ms. Pelosi and the Senate sergeant-at-arms reported to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who at that time was the Senate majority leader. Both sergeants resigned immediately following the Jan. 6 breach.
According to The Associated Press, the board decided not to call in the guard ahead of Jan. 6 but eventually requested assistance on that day after the breach began.
Pelosi Responds, GOP Report Blames Democrats
Ms. Pelosi responded to President Trump’s accusations in an interview with MSNBC, insisting that the former president “has always been about projection.”
“He knows he’s responsible for that, so he projects it onto others. His instigation of insurrection, an assault on our Constitution the day we were supposed to approve—and we did—the work of the Electoral College, the results of the Electoral College, the assault on the Capitol building, the assault on the Constitution, the assault on our democracy. Shame on him,” she said.
“He always projects. Now he used to say, ‘Well, she turned down my troops.’ No. We begged him, Chuck Schumer and I begged him to send the troops again and again.”
President Trump is not alone in blaming Ms. Pelosi for security failures on Jan. 6. A December 2022 report by five House Republicans also blamed Ms. Pelosi as well as the Democrat leadership for what happened on that day.
The report (pdf) accused then-House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving of having “succumbed to political pressures” from Ms. Pelosi and the House Democrat leadership.
“He coordinated closely with the Speaker and her staff and left Republicans out of important discussions related to security,” the report said. “But rather than coordinate in a meaningful way, Irving only provided information to Republicans after receiving instruction from the Speaker’s office.”
“On February 9, 2022, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, ‘I have no power over the Capitol Police.’ This is false. Documents provided by the House Sergeant at Arms show how then-House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving carried out his duties in clear deference to the Speaker, her staff, and other Democratic staff.”
Investigating J6 Committee
The Jan. 6 committee which investigated President Trump is also facing accusations of failing to preserve critical data. The now disbanded Jan. 6 committee was mostly run by Democrats, with only two Republicans on board.
In an interview with Fox News in August, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who is overseeing the GOP investigation into the work of the Jan. 6 committee, said the committee did not adequately preserve relevant documents, data, and video related to security failures on Capitol Hill.
“Part of our task as this oversight subcommittee is to actually address the security failures, look into how did it happen, … how were these folks able to get into the Capitol,” he said. Mr. Loudermilk found that they hadn’t received any significant material from the “blue team,” referring to the J6 committee.
“We’ve got lots of depositions, we’ve got lots of subpoenas, we’ve got video and other documents provided through subpoenas by individuals. But we’re not seeing anything from the blue team as far as reports on the investigation they did looking into the actual breach itself,” he said.
“What we also realized we didn’t have was the videos of all the depositions.”
President Trump was indicted in August by Special Counsel Jack Smith, linking him with the events surrounding Jan. 6.
The former president has been charged with four counts, including a conspiracy to “impair, obstruct, and defeat” the collection and counting of electoral votes.
When asked in his “Meet the Press” interview whether he was worried about going to jail, he replied, “I’m built a little differently I guess, because I have had people come up to me and say, ‘How do you do it, sir? How do you do it?’ I don’t even think about it.”
“I think very few people would have been able to handle what I handled. When I was coming down the escalator with Melania, I was already under investigation, because they saw how well I was doing in the polls. And it just got worse and worse.”