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Trump said he was "surprised" when his supporters broke into the Capitol on January 6.
He told journalist David Drucker that he expected them to march to the Capitol but not to enter the building.
Trump repeatedly urged his supporters before the siege to "fight like hell" against the 2020 election results.
Former President Donald Trump said he was surprised when throngs of his supporters breached the US Capitol on January 6 in a failed effort to overturn the 2020 election results.
That's according to "In Trump's Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of the GOP," by Washington Examiner senior political correspondent David Drucker, published on Tuesday.
Drucker interviewed Trump for the book and wrote that when he spoke to Trump in early May, the former president said he was caught off guard when his frenzied supporters broke into the US Capitol on January 6.
"I was not surprised when they went down to the Capitol to cheer," Trump said. "But I was surprised that they went [into] the Capitol."
Trump repeatedly urged his supporters to protest Congress' affirmation of President Joe Biden's victory in the months after the 2020 election. At a "Save America" rally held the same day Congress convened to rubber stamp Biden's win, Trump told his supporters to "fight like hell" against the results.
"And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore," he said. Other Trump loyalists at the rally echoed Trump's rhetoric. In one instance, Rudy Giuliani, then Trump's personal defense attorney who was spearheading his slew of election-related lawsuits, called for a "trial by combat."
Trump also suggested at the rally that he would go to the Capitol with his supporters.
"After this, we're going to walk down, and I'll be there with you … we're going to walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them," he said.
The former president told Drucker, however, that the Secret Service refused to greenlight his plan to join supporters on Capitol Hill.
"I wanted to go down with the crowd. I said I was going to go down with the crowd. But they wouldn't let me go," he said. "I think if I did go down there, I would have stopped the people from doing anything bad."
Images of the pro-Trump rioters storming the Capitol dominated news coverage on January 6. Lawmakers, members of the media, and Capitol Hill staffers were forced to hunker down in their offices and behind makeshift barricades as the mob breached the building.
A Reuters photographer said he overheard multiple rioters saying they wanted to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence from a tree on the Capitol grounds. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN earlier this year that she was afraid of being raped and killed by Trump supporters, and Rep. Adam Schiff, who led Trump's impeachment hearings, wrote in his new book that his Republican colleagues told him to hide from the rioters because of his high-profile opposition to Trump.
In the months since then, Trump has repeatedly praised the rioters and said they're being unfairly persecuted by the Justice Department. Last week, he recorded a video message to be played at a commemoration honoring one of the rioters, Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer while trying to breach the House chamber.
He also wished Babbitt a happy birthday last week and called for an investigation into her death.
Read the original article on Business Insider