Democracy in Peril: Trump Scuffled With Bodyguard
BY YASHWANT RAJ
WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – A former White House aide has told a US Congressional Committee that on January 6, 2021, former President Donald Trump had sent a mob of armed supporters to the US Capitol and had bodily scuffled with a Secret Service bodyguard who prevented him from joining the rampaging rioters.
The stunning revelations on June 28 came from a surprise witness who testified before a select committee of the House of Representatives investigating the insurrection on January 6 when Trump’s supporters ransacked the US Capitol, home to the Congress, to prevent a joint sitting of lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden winner of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has refused to accept defeat to his day and has continued to raise millions to keep up the lie.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a close aide to Trump’s final chief of staff Mark Meadows, detailed a president unhinged in his final days in the White House.
“They are not here to hurt me,” he said on January 6 when he asked for security apparatuses to be removed from the site of a rally where he and others had addressed supporters, who had subsequently marched on to the US Capitol. Hutchinson was within earshot when Trump made this remark.
Trump knew the mob was armed, as did his aides. But neither he nor some of his aides tried to prevent the rioters. He wanted the security apparatuses removed so more of his supporters could make it to the rally. That they were armed did not concern him at all, as he believed they wouldn’t harm him.
Hutchinson’s account of Trump’s scuffle with the Secret Service agent was based on hearsay, she heard it from a top national security council official and the secret service agent involved in the tussle. After finishing the rally, Trump got into the armored presidential vehicle expecting it to take him to the Capitol, to join his supporters, but when the vehicle began moving away and in the direction of the White House, Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol.
“The president had a very strong, a very angry response to that,” Hutchinson said, as reported to her by another official. “The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’ to which the security detail chief said, ‘Sir, we must go back to the West Wing’.”
Trump then lunged at the steering wheel.
He lunged at the steering when to take control. The head of his security detail held his arm and told Trump to let go of the steering wheel. “Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel, and when Mr. Ornato (the national security council official) had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicles,” Hutchinson said.
Trump’s final days in the White House were chaotic. He once got so enraged by an interview given by former Attorney General Bill Barr – that the 2020 presidential election was largely fair – that he flung his food at the wall. This was not the only time he had done that, she said.
“There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go on to the floor and likely break or go everywhere,” she said of the president.
Hutchinson’s explosive testimony was a surprise sixth public hearing of the committee that has built a case showing the January 6 insurrection was planned, and not spontaneous, and that Trump had a role in it. Since the first hearing, one official who participated in Trump’s lie has been raided by the department of justice and another has had his mobile seized from him.