Donald Trump Praises Jan. 6 Insurrectionists As 'Warriors'

Former President Donald Trump heaped praise on Jan. 6 insurrectionists as “warriors” over the weekend and falsely stated that police officers welcomed them into the U.S. Capitol during the 2021 riot.

“They were warriors but they were really more than anything else — they’re victims of what happened,” Trump, who is now a convicted felon, said at a rally in Las Vegas on Sunday.

“All they were doing is protesting a rigged election. That’s what they were doing,” he continued, repeating his false claims about the 2020 presidential election.

Trump also falsely claimed police officers urged hundreds of his supporters to storm the Capitol by telling them, “Go in, go in, go in, go in.”

“What a setup that was,” he added.

The claim that police officers or undercover federal agents helped orchestrate the Jan. 6 attack has been one of the more pernicious conspiracy theories on the right, being spread not just by the former president and his allies but several sitting Republican members of Congress and another GOP presidential candidate as well.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has testified before Congress that the agency was “emphatically not” part of the violence at the Capitol, and there are hours of footage showing U.S. Capitol Police struggling to defend the building despite being beaten, tased, and bear-sprayed by violent Trump supporters.

Still, Trump has sought to whitewash the events of Jan. 6 nearly four years after the attack, portraying the rioters as victims and vowing to pardon them if he is elected president again. At his rallies, Trump often plays a song recorded by Jan. 6 convicts and pays tribute to them.

“He can’t claim to support law and order and at the same time support those who tried to upend our democracy,” former Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said earlier this year. “He can’t claim to support law and order and stand at attention saluting the American flag while they play a modified national anthem written by a convicted felon who attacked my co-workers. That’s not leadership; that’s betrayal.”