Ex-President Donald Trump has drawn sharp criticism from television presenter Joe Scarborough and social media users for referring to the incarcerated Capitol rioters as hostages. Scarborough, a former GOP congressman and co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, labeled the Capitol invaders as “pure evil” and found Trump’s comparison to hostages deeply insulting.
On January 6, 2021, approximately 2,000 individuals stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., following a rally of Trump supporters protesting the 2020 election results. Trump had previously alleged that the election was rigged. Over 1,000 individuals have been charged in connection with the incident, with more than 400 facing felony charges for assaulting or obstructing law enforcement, according to the most recent data from the Department of Justice.
Trump made the controversial remarks during a campaign rally in Houston, Texas. Prior to his speech, he saluted as a version of The Star-Spangled Banner, titled Justice for All, played. The song, credited to the J6 Prison Choir, includes Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
In response to the backlash, Trump’s team dismissed the critics as “moronic liberals” and “Never Trumpers” suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” They expressed anticipation for Trump’s return to the White House.
As of early September, the Department of Justice’s Washington, D.C., office reported that 623 individuals had been sentenced, with not all receiving jail time. Approximately 657 had pleaded guilty to federal charges, with many facing or set to face jail time upon sentencing.
Scarborough also highlighted the plight of the families of the four police officers who died during the riot, attributing their deaths to the jailed rioters. He condemned the violence against the police officers, describing it as “pure, pure evil.”
Scarborough also accused Trump of comparing the rioters to the current hostage situation in Gaza, where over 200 individuals were taken hostage following a surprise attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.
Newsweek reached out to MSNBC for comment but received no response. Mike Sington, a former senior executive at NBCUniversal, expressed his disgust at Trump’s comments on social media, describing them as “repulsive and anti-American.”
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