Donald Trump claims that he was not watching television while a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol, despite witness testimony and multiple accounts from people in his administration revealing that he was doing exactly that.
Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for The New York Times, said she pressed the former president about his actions during the assault on a joint session of Congress as lawmakers convened to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“I didn’t usually have the television on. I’d have it on if there was something. I then later turned it on and I saw what was happening,” he said, according to Ms Haberman, writing in The Atlantic in an article adapted from her book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.
“I had heard that afterward and actually on the late side,” according to Mr Trump. “I was having meetings. I was also with Mark Meadows and others. I was not watching television.”
But former White House officials have repeatedly testified to the House select committee investigating the attack that then-President Trump was in the dining room next to the Oval Office and watching it unfold on screen.
Gen Keith Kellog, national security adviser to then-Vice President Mike Pence, said Mr Trump and his aides were watching TV while the attack unfolded.
“It’s my understanding he was watching television,” according to Molly Michael, former executive assistant to the president.
What was Donald Trump doing while the Capitol was under siege? Take a look. pic.twitter.com/9mz3P6C4qK
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 21, 2022
Asked if violent scenes from the Capitol were on display while the president was watching them, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone replied “yes.”
“All I know about that day was that he was in the dining room, gleefully watching on his TV as he often did, ‘look at all of the people fighting for me,’ hitting rewind, watching it again,” to Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and press secretary for then First Lady Melania Trump, said in an interview with CNN. “That’s what I know.”