(CNN) — The former chief of staff to ex-President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed back against his former boss’ recent attempt to whitewash the history of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Mick Mulvaney, who stepped down as Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland after the insurrection, called Trump’s comments that his supporters were “hugging and kissing” police officers and posed “zero threat,” despite widespread violence, “manifestly false.”
“I was surprised to hear the President say that. Clearly there were people who were behaving themselves, and then there were people who absolutely were not, but to come out and say that everyone was fine and there was no risk, that’s just manifestly false — people died, other people were severely injured,” Mulvaney told CNN’s Pamela Brown on “Newsroom.”
“It’s not right to say there was no risk, I don’t know how you can say that when people were killed,” he added.
Mulvaney was one of a handful of senior officials who resigned in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot, including former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and former Trump deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger.
Trump earlier this week attempted to rewrite the history of the insurrection, which he stoked by repeatedly and falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him. There is no evidence of widespread fraud, but Trump and many of his conservative allies in the media and on Capitol Hill have continued to push the narrative.
Calling into Fox News on Thursday night, Trump was asked if he was concerned about the US Capitol’s beefed-up security, including razor-wire fencing, which he derided as “disgraceful” and a “political maneuver.”
“It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat. Look, they went in, they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships,” Trump told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”
Trump’s comments came after the world has been presented with reams of video evidence of the violence that broke out on January 6, charges filed against alleged rioters, police officers’ accounts of the violence and lawmakers’ descriptions of the fear they experienced that day. The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and more than 100 other police officers were injured.
Still, Mulvaney said he “absolutely would” still vote for Trump if he were to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“I think the more interesting question is what does the Republican primary look like,” Mulvaney said, “And nobody knows, up to and including, I believe, the President. I absolutely believe the President has not made up his mind yet, and probably won’t for a long period of time, maybe even after the primaries start in 2024, so it’s a long way off.”
Mulvaney acknowledged, however, that if Trump were to run again, he’d likely have to answer for the events of Jan. 6.
“He’s still a major player in the Republican Party — there’s a lot of folks who were turned off by the last six weeks, and especially the riots, that he’s going to have to do some work to sort of build bridges back with, if he wants to run again.”