- The Secret Service attempted to hatch a last-minute plan to bring Trump to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Trump announced during his speech at the Ellipse that “we’re going to the Capitol.”
- It came after Trump spent nearly two weeks lobbying the Secret Service to secure him a path to the Capitol.
Former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 vow to “come down to the Capitol” with his supporters led to a last-minute scramble to see if the president could indeed make it to the Capitol where lawmakers were beginning the process of confirming his electoral defeat, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The Post reported that Trump’s engagement led the Secret Service to contact DC police in an attempt to block major street intersections at the last minute. But local police refused the frantic demand, saying they were already overwhelmed by protests unfolding across the city. DC police would later help retake the US Capitol after rioters delayed certification for hours.
It was previously known that Trump had made efforts to keep his promise to walk with his supporters, but more details are emerging on the extent to which those around the president have tried to accommodate him. Trump pressed the Secret Service to make a plan for him to visit the Capitol for nearly two weeks before Jan. 6, the Post reported. Trump has made it clear that his goal is to pressure Republican lawmakers who don’t support his efforts to oppose the certification of a handful of closely contested states.
Political journalist Betsy Woodruff Swan reported Tuesday that the committee interviewed several Secret Service agents, including Robert Engel, the most senior agent on Trump details on Jan. 6.
Trump has previously said the Secret Service has canceled his plans to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“The Secret Service wouldn’t let me,” he told the Post in April. “I wanted to go. I wanted to go so badly. The Secret Service says you can’t go. I would have gone in a minute.”
Trump’s security officials were surprised when he announced during his speech at the Ellipse that “we’re going down Pennsylvania Avenue…and we’re going to the Capitol.”
If Trump had arrived on Capitol Hill, it would have brought him closer to Vice President Mike Pence, who on Jan. 6 made it clear that he would not follow Trump’s demands and unilaterally oppose or delay the certification of results. Instead, Trump remained in the White House while some of his supporters ransacked the Capitol and shouted that they wanted to “hang” Pence.
Tuesday’s news comes just days before the House Jan. 6 committee begins its public hearings. Lawmakers on the bipartisan panel promised the hearings would reveal new information about what led to the insurgency.
Spokespersons for Trump and the DC Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.