Donald Trump’s supporters had stormed US government seat in Washington DC after his defeat.
Former US President Donald Trump refuses to back down against the charge that his unsubstantiated claims of a “stolen election” in 2020 sparked violence on Capitol Hill after his loss to Joe Biden. Prepping for a Republican Party nomination to run for President again in 2024, Mr Trump said his opponents from the Democratic Party, too, have spoken of “stolen” elections before, including when he won in 2016.
“Democrats say I stole the election in 2016, which I didn’t do,” Mr Trump claimed. He didn’t say which Democrats made the “stolen” claim. The party’s leadership had congratulated Mr Trump in 2016, while expressing disappointment at Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Trump supporters rioting at the Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.
On whether he agrees with the democratic principle of accepting defeat, he said, “I agree with that,” but repeated his claim: “We didn’t lose.”
Asked pointedly why he still insists on that, he said: “Two weeks ago, it came out, the head of Facebook, (Mark) Zuckerberg, said the FBI came to him and told him, on this Russian disinformation, ‘don’t say anything’… They suppressed it.”
He was likely referring to Mark Zuckerberg’s recent statement on a podcast, in which he said that, ahead of the 2020 election, the FBI had warned his company against “some kind of dump” that should not get prominence on the social network. This was just before stories came out about a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden — son of eventual winner Joe Biden — which had data on dealings with Russian and Chinese businesspeople. US officials have since said the laptop is “not part of some Russian campaign” and there’s no political corruption either.
But Mr Trump is keen on deflecting back the allegations that Russia helped him in elections. Investigations so far — while concluding that Russian entities pushed disinformation on social media to help the 2016 Trump campaign — have not found if Mr Trump was directly involved.
“Our country is going to hell,” Mr Trump said in the NDTV interview, referring to Joe Biden’s administration and the Democratic Party. “When you look at what’s happened in two years (of Joe Biden’s tenure so far), the United States, we have never been in a position like this ever.”
Trump supporters at Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.
He was asked if he realises his claims of “illegal” election can have violent consequences — such as the storming of US government headquarters by his supporters on January 6, 2021, soon after his election loss. He responded: “Democrats have said that for a long time about different elections… The same people that now complain were big complainers about 2016.”
For the January 6 “insurrection”, nearly 900 arrests have so far been made, more than 300 people have been convicted, but the key part remains under investigation — whether or not Donald Trump knew his “stolen” claims would lead to violence. Mr Trump denies he knew.
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