Donald Trump was an unusual candidate in 2016, but there was one trait that really separated him from the pack: an obsessive focus on violence. And not just any violence, but violence outside the bounds of the law.
On Tuesday, a surprise witness, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, painted a portrait of a president whose long-held fantasies of violent revenge came to full fruition on Jan. 6, both personally and politically.
She said Trump was not only aware that supporters were carrying guns at the rally, but angrily demanded that they be allowed into his event without being searched and said that “they can march to the Capitol from ‘here”.
She said she heard an enraged Trump try to grab the steering wheel and possibly pounce on a Secret Service agent’s “collarbone” in order to join supporters on Capitol Hill.
She recalls hearing White House chief of staff Mark Meadows say Trump agreed with rioters chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ as they tried to overturn the election results by any means necessary .
She described Trump as personally violent and unhinged on several occasions, throwing dishes when angry.
rump has denied the incidents in a series of statements. But to lend credence to her testimony, almost everything she described had an obvious corresponding moment in Trump’s career.
Asked during a debate about potential violence from far-right supporters, such as the Proud Boys, he said they should “step back and sit idly by”. Their members have since been charged with seditious conspiracy for their role in 1/6. It was a dark place that only Trump was willing to go among his political rivals when he first ran as a candidate. Even his most conservative opponents condemned his rhetoric and warned it could lead to real-world violence, though many later let go of their concerns and became high profile supporters.
Hutchinson’s testimony would suggest they were right the first time. These violent delights have violent ends.