Trump to return to Capitol for first time since Jan 6 riot for meeting with top Republicans

Trump to return to Capitol for first time since Jan 6 riot for meeting with top Republicans

Donald Trump will make his first return to Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Thursday since his supporters laid siege to the US Capitol on January 6 2021 in protest at his defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

The Republican presidential candidate and convicted felon was already scheduled to meet behind closed doors with GOP senators but will now also reportedly sit down with their House counterparts in a separate session.

House GOP Conference chairwoman and prospective Trump running mate Elise Stefanik notified lawmakers on Tuesday about the upcoming meeting with their party’s presumptive nominee, according to the Associated Press.

The Trump campaign has not confirmed the meeting with House Republicans but a senior campaign official has said the Senate session will be focused on policy issues, including tax cuts.

Trump’s return to the Republican Party’s campaign offices across from the Capitol will inevitably stir up vivid memories of the events of January 6, when he addressed “Stop the Steal” protesters on the Ellipse and urged them to “fight like hell”.

Donald Trump addresses his followers in DC on January 6 2021 (AFP/Getty)
Donald Trump addresses his followers in DC on January 6 2021 (AFP/Getty)

They took that appeal literally, attacking the legislative complex and battling law enforcement for several hours as they attempted to storm the building in order to prevent the formal certification of the 2020 election results at a joint-session of Congress.

Lawmakers and their families were sent fleeing for their lives as the rioters stalked the halls, invaded representatives’ offices and called for the hanging of Mike Pence, Trump’s then vice-president who had rejected his boss’s call to subvert his ceremonial role at the session by blocking the certification process.

The attack resulted in Trump’s historic second impeachment and more than 1,000 prosecutions of would-be insurrectionists who joined the fray on a day destined to live on in infamy.

Trump has since been found liable for a historic sexual assault and associated defamation, found liable for business fraud in a separate case and convicted on May 30 of falsifying business records to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in another – and is still facing three further criminal indictments.

For all that, most Republicans have endorsed him ahead of November’s expected rematch against Biden, including outgoing Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other leaders who were highly critical of him in the immediate aftermath of the 2021 attack.

A majority of GOP politicians in Congress have also joined their candidate in echoing his baseless claims that the US justice system has been “weaponised” against him by the Biden administration.

House speaker Mike Johnson was one of a number of populist GOP lawmakers who descended on the New York courthouse hearing Trump’s hush money trial last month to protest his innocence and denounce the proceedings as corrupt before his eventual guilty conviction by a unanimous jury.