Then-President Donald Trump objected to scripted remarks prepared by his staff one day after last year’s Capitol riot, saying, “I don’t want to say the election is over.”
In the deleted scenes shown Thursday night by the House select committee investigating the riot, Trump quibbled with a duplicative condemnation of rioters who disrupted certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and said he wanted to remove words saying the 2020 election was settled.
“I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday,” Trump began the statement.
“And to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement, you do not represent our country. And if you broke the law —,” Trump read from a teleprompter before pausing and shaking his head in disapproval.
“You can’t say that. I’m not gonna — I already said ‘you will pay,’” Trump objected.
In another clip, Trump again halted, saying he was having trouble seeing the words before him.
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defied the seat of — it’s defiled, right? See, I can’t see it very well,” said a visibly frustrated 45th president.
In another cut, he said, “But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results,” before again halting to protest, “I don’t want to say the election is over. I just want to say Congress has certified the results without saying the election’s over, okay?”
First daughter Ivanka Trump, who is not visible in the video, said to her father, repeating his edit aloud, “Now, Congress has certified.”
“Right. I didn’t say ‘over’ so let’s — let me see. Go to the paragraph before,” Trump said, reviewing the revision.
During another attempt at filming the remarks, Trump said, “I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday,” before veering off-script again: “Yesterday is a hard word for me.”
“Just take it out?” the first daughter asked.
“Ah, good, take the word ‘yesterday’ out because it doesn’t work with it,” Trump said. “The heinous attack — on our country, say on our country? Want to say that?
“No, keep it,” Ivanka Trump said.
The then-president also was depicted twice exhibiting flashes of anger, once baring his teeth in an angry grin and another time pounding his lectern, as he tried to read the line, “My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.”
The final cut of Trump’s Jan. 7 video message was less than 3 minutes long.
The riot committee played the footage during its second primetime hearing as members took turns arguing that Trump was unfit to hold office again, as he teases a potential 2024 rematch against Biden.
The Thursday hearing focused on the nearly three-hour window of time during the riot before Trump asked his supporters to go home. Before the violence broke out, Trump told thousands of supporters near the White House that he actually won the election but that his victory was “stolen” by Democratic voter fraud — despite the fact that those claims were rejected by the courts.