- Trump said if reelected, he would consider “very, very seriously” pardoning defendants on Jan. 6.
- He said those charged in connection with the riots were “treated unfairly” as “worse than terrorists and murderers”.
- His comments come a day after the committee’s third public hearing on Jan. 6.
Former President Donald Trump said he would pardon those accused and convicted of the Capitol riots if he became president again.
Speaking at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, Trump claimed that on Jan. 6 the defendants “devastate their lives” and are “treated worse than terrorists and murderers.”
“If I ever become president, if I decide to do it, I will look very, very seriously to them for pardon,” Trump said.
—Acyn (@Acyn) June 17, 2022
Trump said the defendants had been treated “very unfairly” and claimed most had been charged with “parade through the Capitol”.
At least 865 people have been charged with crimes related to the uprising, and more than 309 have pleaded guilty to various charges, including unauthorized entry into the Capitol, assault and seditious conspiracy.
While Trump has yet to announce whether he will officially run in 2024, he has hinted at it repeatedly.
“One of the most pressing tasks for the next Republican president — I wonder who that will be,” Trump said Friday, according to PBS, prompting chants of “USA” from the crowd.
“Would anyone want me to run for president?” he said to more cheers.
It’s not the first time Trump has suggested considering a pardon for January 6 defendants if they’re re-elected.
Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham, who also spoke at the same event on Friday, said in January that he found Trump’s promise to pardon Capitol defendants “inappropriate.”
“I don’t want to send a signal that it was okay to contaminate the Capitol,” Graham said CBS at the time. Trump responded by calling Graham a RINO — “Republican in name only.”
Trump’s speech on Friday will take place during ongoing Jan. 6 committee hearings that examine the unprecedented effort by the former president and his allies to undo a US presidential election.
The third hearing on Thursday examined the press campaign targeting then Vice President Mike Pence in the run-up to January 6.
During his speech on Friday, Trump redoubled his attacks on Mike Pence and reiterated his baseless claims of voter fraud.