Aide describes the president as a ‘total monster’ who refused to act as Congress was stormed

Trump White House oval office resolute desk
President Donald Trump.
  • As a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, President Donald Trump defended the insurrectionists to White House aides, an administration official told The Washington Post. 
  • "He kept saying ... My people are peaceful. My people aren't thugs," the unnamed official said, adding that Trump did not want to say anything about the ransacking.
  • According to The Post, aides were astonished at Trump's slow and unwilling response to the violence, with one calling the president "total monster."
  • While aides eventually persuaded Trump to record a video, he reportedly went against their wishes and ad-libbed sections of the speech, continuing to push the false claim that he won the 2020 election.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump defended his supporters as they sieged the Capitol on Wednesday, and contradicted aides by ad-libbing parts of the speech in which he told rioters to go home, The Washington Post reported.

As a pro-Trump mob raided the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress, the president defended their actions back at the White House, according to an administration official who spoke with The Post. 

"He kept saying: 'The vast majority of them are peaceful. What about the riots this summer? What about the other side? No one cared when they were rioting. My people are peaceful. My people aren't thugs,' " the unnamed official said, referencing the unrest this summer tied to the Black Lives Matter movement.

"He didn't want to condemn his people."

"He was a total monster today," this official added, saying it was a worse day than when Trump defended the people who took part in the 2017 white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Read more: Lawmakers, Hill staffers, and reporters recount the harrowing experience as a violent pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol to protest the electoral-vote count

capitol
Trump supporters take over balconies and inauguration scaffolding at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

According to The Post, aides were astonished that Trump was so slow to respond to the violence, and so combative of efforts to get him to address the situation publicly. 

"He didn't want to say anything or do anything to rise to the moment," the official told the newspaper. "He's so driven by this notion that he's been treated unfairly that he can't see the bigger picture."

According to The Post, Trump refused when aides tried to get him to call into Fox News, but they were eventually able to convince him to record a video to post on Twitter. Politico noted that the release of Trump's video came about two-and-a-half hours after rioters first stormed the Capitol.

But the president went off-script while delivering remarks for that video, going against aides' wishes to continue the false claim that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him, The Post reported.

In the video, Trump told his supporters: "This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you; you're very special."

That video has since gotten him temporarily locked out of Twitter.

Twitter said Trump had removed the tweets that led to his suspension from the platform, and the president will get his account back after a 12-hour block.

A joint session of Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's election victory around 3:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. The session was disrupted due to the siege on Wednesday - with lawmakers evacuated and told to wear gas masks - but went back into session around 8 p.m. Wednesday after the Capitol was secured.

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