Trump clashes with Kristen Welker over what he was doing on Jan 6: ‘Why would I tell you?’

There was a tense moment during Donald Trump’s interview with new Meet the Press moderator Kirsten Welker over his movements on 6 January 2021 as the Capitol riot was underway.

The interview — which ahead of broadcast received much criticism for giving the former president a platform from which he could repeat known falsehoods — was pre-recorded on Thursday and aired on Sunday morning on Welker’s first show as the new moderator.

The wide-ranging questioning turned to Mr Trump’s movements and actions on January 6, with Welker asking why he did not do more to stop the violence as his supporters battled with police and stormed Congress.

“Tell me how you watched this all unfold. Were you in the dining room watching TV?” Welker asked, referring to accounts of the day from people at the White House.

“I’m not going to tell you,” Mr Trump responded. “I’ll tell people later at an appropriate time.”

Aides to the then-president have said he sequestered himself in the room off the Oval Office to watch, at times even rewinding and rewatching some parts.

In the interview, recorded on Thursday at Bedminster, Mr Trump’s golf club in New Jersey, he said in response to Welker’s pressing him about his public silence during the violence that he had made “beautiful statements” on the day of the attack — pointing to the video he put out where he told his supporters to go home.

“That was at 4 o’clock in the afternoon,” Welker pointed out, through the former president’s bluster. “More than three hours after the attack.”

Welker was herself at the White House that day in her role as NBC News White House correspondent.

She then asked Mr Trump who he called to try and stop the riot and reinforce the embattled Capitol Police.

“Why would I tell you that?” he responded, before again pushing the false argument that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi allowed the riot to happen by turning down his offer of 10,000 soldiers.

Insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January 2021 (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January 2021 (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The former president then repeatedly refused to say if he called the military or law enforcement to go to Capitol Hill, defend Congress, and shutdown the violence.

Welker persisted, repeatedly pointing out that Ms Pelosi in her role at the time of Speaker of the House did not have the authority that he did as commander in chief.

“Do you think you showed leadership on that day?” she asked after he again blamed Ms Pelosi for January 6.

“Absolutely, yes I did,” Mr Trump replied.

Trump’s supporters, fueled by his lies about the 2020 presidential election, stormed the building as Congress prepared to certify the victory of Democrat Joe Biden. Trump is facing federal criminal charges for his efforts to overturn his loss in that election but he is not facing charges related to the insurrection.

Mr Trump said he might consider pardoning some of the rioters charged for their actions that day.

More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6 riot and more than 600 have pleaded guilty or been convicted.

“I’m going to look at them, and I certainly might if I think it’s appropriate" to pardon them, the former president said.

With reporting from the Associated Press