Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. Secret Service blocked him from making good on his pledge to join supporters marching on Jan. 6, 2021, from the White House to the Capitol ahead of that day’s deadly riot.
The former president told The Washington Post that the “Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute.”
A spokesperson for the Secret Service did not immediately reply to an email seeking confirmation that the then-president’s protective detail kept him from joining his supporters at the Capitol that day.
In a wide-ranging interview at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida with Post reporter Josh Dawsey, Trump spoke about the Jan. 6 insurrection, repeated claims of a stolen election and weighed in on the possibility of a 2024 presidential campaign. On at least a dozen occasions throughout their conversation, Dawsey wrote, Trump blamed the events of Jan. 6 on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking why isn’t she doing something about it? Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it?” Trump said. “And the mayor of D.C. also. The mayor of D.C. and Nancy Pelosi are in charge.”
Trump stood by his tweet inviting his supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6 with a promise that the day would “be wild!” He also defended his comments at the “Stop the Steal” rally outside the White House on Jan. 6, where Trump urged supporters to flock to the Capitol in an effort to block the certification of the Electoral College votes. Trump supporters stormed from that rally to the Capitol, where many attacked police and fought their way into the building. The riot prompted lawmakers, including then-Vice President Mike Pence, to flee to safety and left dozens of police officers injured.
The former president had urged rallygoers outside the White House on Jan. 6 to march to the Capitol and promised to join them, saying “we’re going to walk down [to Capitol Hill], and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down.” But Trump did not follow through on that pledge, instead returning directly to the White House from the rally.
Trump was quickly impeached by the House of Representatives, which accused the then-president of “incitement of insurrection,” the gravest charge ever lodged against a sitting president. Trump, who was later acquitted by the Senate, had told supporters at the “Stop the Steal” rally that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong” and “we fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Trump repeatedly said in his Wednesday interview with The Post that he deserved more credit for the size of the crowd he drew to the “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse, just outside the White House.
“The crowd was far bigger than I even thought. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to,” Trump said. “I don’t know what that means, but you see very few pictures. They don’t want to show pictures, the fake news doesn’t want to show pictures. But this was a tremendous crowd.”
During the interview, Trump said Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate David McCormick was waiting outside to meet with the former president and solicit an endorsement. Trump said he’d make a decision in “about a week” between endorsing McCormick or Mehmet Oz. “They all come here,” he said.
Trump declined to say if he would run for president in 2024, but noted that his health would play a role in his decision. “I don’t want to comment on running, but I think a lot of people are going to be very happy by my decision, because it’s a little boring now.”