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Fahrenthold: Trump was ‘hard to reach, slow to respond’ during siege of Capitol

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

As we continue to learn more about the events leading up to last Wednesday’s siege of the U.S. Capitol, the president’s own role in inciting a mob of his supporters has come into question.

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As Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold describes, both Republicans and Democrats were attempting to contact President Trump, asking for him to send in the National Guard and call off his supporters.

“Trump was hard to reach because he was watching it all on television, and was then slow to respond,” Fahrenthold told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

According to ex-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund — who resigned following last Wednesday’s violence — National Guard assistance was denied or delayed six times prior to and during the attack.

Ultimately, National Guard troops arrived three hours after the mob had begun storming the U.S. Capitol. Meanwhile, President Trump had issued a video telling the crowd to go home, but also telling them, “we love you.”

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“The very least he could do was to tell people to go home, and he did so in a way that complimented them and sort of showed that he was still with them, even as he was telling [them] to go,” Fahrenthold said. “I should say that I don’t think that video had much of any effect on the people who were in the Capitol — they kept rampaging until they were thrown out.”

On Tuesday, Trump spoke to the media for the first time in over a month, claiming that a speech he delivered in front of the White House to supporters shortly before they stormed the Capitol “was totally appropriate.”

Fahrenthold contests that assessment himself, pointing out that Trump had urged the crowd to march to the Capitol.

“I think you know what Trump said on Wednesday, encouraging folks to head down to the Capitol,” he noted. “That was the only proximate cause of that insurrection — that wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for Trump.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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