Donald Trump defended Ashli Babbitt as a “patriot” and called the police officer who killed her a “thug” during CNN’s town hall event on Wednesday.
Babbitt, a Trump supporter and Air Force veteran, was the only person killed during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot when she was shot by Capitol Police officer Lt. Michael Byrd.
Town Hall Moderator Kaitlan Collins pointed out that “more than 140 officers were injured” during the riot.
“And a person named Ashli Babbitt was killed,” Trump shot back. “And she shouldn’t have been killed.”
“And this thug who killed her, there was no reason to shoot him,” continued the former president. “She was a good person. She was a patriot.”
“There was no reason.”
Asked about the endangerment of police officers on 1/6, Donald Trump comes to the defense of Ashli Babbitt and attacks the officer who killed her as a “thug”:
“Ashli Babbitt was killed… And that thug who killed her, there was no reason to shoot him… He was a good person. She was a patriot. » pic.twitter.com/gKuyj6CaOG
— The recount (@therecount) May 11, 2023
RELATED: President McCarthy Defends Cop Who Killed Ashli Babbitt: He ‘Did His Job’
Trump hammers officer who killed Ashli Babbitt
Trump, the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 – and, currently, the first candidate in the general classification – went on to criticize Byrd for his reaction to the Ashli Babbitt shoot.
“He went on TV to brag that he killed her,” he charged.
Collins countered that the officer wasn’t bragging about his actions, but Trump wasn’t having him say, “Oh, he was bragging.”
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Byrd, in an interview with MSNBC, suggested his actions ‘saved countless lives’ by protecting lawmakers and said shooting down Babbitt, who was unarmed but tried to climb through broken glass into the House chamber, showed the ‘greatest courage “.
Which, contrary to what Collins thinks, sounds like someone bragging.
Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot, says he went into hiding for months after receiving a barrage of death threats and racist attacks .
“I believe I showed the greatest courage on January 6 and it is time for me to do so now” pic.twitter.com/2kaAxy8yGc
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 26, 2021
RELATED: Documents show Ashli Babbitt is unarmed, forensic oversight says ‘no good reason’ for shooting
Trump’s past comments about Byrd
This is not the first time that Trump has strongly criticized the actions of the officer who opened fire on Ashli Babbitt during the riot.
Responding to comments in February by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that Byrd “just did his job”, Trump again shot back that the officer was a “thug”.
Trump said he “totally disagrees” with McCarthy’s assessment, calling Byrd a “coward” and insisting Babbitt “was murdered.”
“He was not a hero but a COWARD, who wanted to show how tough he was,” Trump said in his Truth Social media platform. “ASHLI BABBITT HAS BEEN MURDERED!!! »
Internal DC Metropolitan Police documents, obtained through a FOIA lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show that the witnesses did not have saw Babbitt holding a gun.
They also provide conflicting reports as to whether she was even verbally warned before she was shot by Byrd.
Lt. Michael Byrd would have been charged with manslaughter – if not murder – if he shot Ashli Babbitt in Texas.
She was unarmed and posed no threat to herself or the officer.
HIS MURDER WAS NOT JUSTIFIED.https://t.co/f2nb5yrCMY #FoxNews
— Congressman Troy E. Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) October 13, 2021
The revelations prompted Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton to declare that there was “no good reason” to shoot Babbitt.
“The Biden-Garland Justice Department … has a lot to answer for for the mismanagement and cover-up of this outrageous murder of an American citizen by the United States Capitol Police,” Fitton said.
Byrd, however, had been cleared of any foul play and was internally cleared by the Capitol Police Department in August 2021.
The internal review “determined that the officer’s conduct was lawful and consistent with Department policy,” according to a statement from Capitol Police, and that as such he would not be subject to disciplinary measures.
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