When recording a message to the rioters who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol in January, former President Donald Trump did not initially tell them to go home, ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl writes in his new book.
Trump had to record the video multiple times, a White House aide told Karl, according to excerpts from Karl’s book “Betrayal” reported by USA Today. In the version that was ultimately made public, Trump told his followers at the Capitol: “We have to have peace, so go home. We love you, you’re very special.” This was after a crowd of rioters had ransacked the building in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost.
In the video that was posted, Trump also repeated the lie that he’d rightfully won the election, and said he could understand his supporters’ “pain.”
However, in at least one take that was not aired, Trump didn’t actually tell his supporters to leave the Capitol, according to Karl’s book.
“A White House aide who was there as the president taped it told me that in the earlier rejected versions, Trump neglected to call on his supporters to leave the Capitol,” Karl writes, according to Raw Story. “He complained about the election. He empathized with their anger, but he didn’t call on them to go home.”
Trump’s social media accounts were suspended in the wake of the Capitol riot, after he continued to use provocative language that platforms deemed a risk for inciting further violence.
“Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show” was released Tuesday. In the book, Karl, who also wrote last year’s bestseller “Front Row at the Trump Show,” documents the 2020 election, the disinformation campaign that preceded and followed it, the January insurrection and Trump’s final days in office.