CLINTON (Iowa): Donald Trump on Saturday downplayed his role in the siege of the US Capitol on the third anniversary of the attack, arguing that those prosecuted for storming the building should be freed.

Speaking at a campaign event in Clinton, Iowa with the first Republican nominating contest little more than a week away, Trump called those jailed in the wake of the Jan 6, 2021 attack “hostages” and said they had been mistreated by the Biden administration.

“They’ve suffered enough,” Trump said. “I call them hostages. Some people call them prisoners.” Speaking to more than a thousand supporters in a school gymnasium, Trump repeated his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent and cast himself as a victim of political persecution. “I got indicted because I challenged the crooked election,” Trump told the crowd.

Trump faces a bevy of state and federal charges for his attempts to subvert the election, but has not been charged with instigating the 2021 insurrection, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as legislators were certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Biden has repeatedly called Trump a threat to democracy on the campaign trail, and that messaging has emerged as an central theme of his campaign so far. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke of the Jan 6 assault at length during an event in South Carolina on Saturday.

At recent campaign events in Iowa, Trump’s supporters — and even supporters of other Republican presidential hopefuls — have downplayed the significance of Jan 6, and many have embraced conspiracy theories regarding the events of that day.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...
Budget and politics
Updated 14 Jun, 2024

Budget and politics

PML-N, scared of taking bold steps lest it loses whatever little public support it has, has left its traditional support — traders — virtually untouched.
New talks?
14 Jun, 2024

New talks?

WILL this prove another false start, or may we expect a more sincere effort this time? Reference is made to the...
A non-starter
14 Jun, 2024

A non-starter

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza...