On Capitol riot anniversary, Donald Trump downplays siege, calls jailed rioters ‘hostages’

NEWTON: Donald Trump hit the campaign trail Saturday in the first-in-the-nation presidential nominating state of Iowa, vowing to win “for the third time” as Americans marked the anniversary of the deadly assault on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters. Many watched in horror three years ago on January 6, 2021, as rioters – fuelled by the ex-president’s false claims of voter fraud – stormed the seat of US democracy in a bid to halt the transfer of power.
In a two-hour speech Saturday to supporters in Newton, Trump described January 6 as “a beautiful day” and said those jailed over their roles were “hostages”.He has said that if elected, he will pardon many.
Trump mocked President Joe Biden, saying he has overseen economic decline and invited chaos at the nation’s borders, while failing to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “I would’ve absolutely stopped Putin,” he said. Trump warned of WWIII if Biden is re-elected, adding, “This is our last chance to save America.” Trump’s remarks came a day after Biden cast Trump as a grave threat to democracy.
His chief Republican rivals, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, were also campaigning in the state in hopes of emerging as the most viable alternative to Trump, who is leading by wide margins in early polls. Trump has used the trip to step up his attacks against Haley. Trump highlighted several recent Haley comments that drew criticism, including her Civil War remark. Haley answered a question about the cause without mentioning the main one – slavery. “Slavery’s sort of the obvious answer,” he told a crowd Friday. In Newton, he said he was fascinated by the “horrible” war. “So many mistakes were made. See that was something I think could have been negotiated, to be honest with you.”
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