‘Truly Despicable’: Donald Trump Calls Black Capitol Officer Who Shot Jan. 6 Insurrectionist a ‘Thug’ During Controversial CNN Town Hall

Donald Trump is causing some uproar due to one of his comments in Tuesday evening’s CNN town hall, where he called a Black officer who fatally shot one of the U.S. Capitol insurrectionists a “thug.”

The televised live event in New Hampshire saw the former president in an especially bombastic mood. The moderator for the event was CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who pressed him on a number of issues, including the war between Russia and Ukraine, the U.S. debt ceiling, abortion, immigration, his repeated false claims of a rigged 2020 presidential election, and the E. Jean Carroll sexual assault case.

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Donald Trump. Photo: The AP/ YouTube Screenshot

During the course of the conversation, Collins asked Trump if he would pardon the U.S. Capitol rioters. While he said he would let off many of the pro-Trump rioters, he also specifically remarked on the case involving rioter Ashli Babbitt and the Black Capitol officer who fatally shot her, Lt. Michael Byrd.

While Collins questioned Trump about why it took him three hours to call off the insurrectionists, she also said that 140 officers were injured that day in the riot.

To which Trump responded, “And a person named Ashli Babbitt was killed. You know what, she was killed and she shouldn’t have been killed. And that thug that killed her, there was no reason to shoot her. At blank range… cold blank range and shot her. And she was a good person, she was a patriot. There was no reason.”

Byrd was a 28-year veteran of the Capitol Police on the day of the insurrection. He and his fellow officers barricaded doors and windows to prevent hundreds of rioters from storming the building where dozens of staffers and House members were holed up inside.

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Lt. Michael Byrd told Lester Holt during an exclusive NBC interview on Thursday that he saved “countless lives” when he used deadly force to prevent Ashli Babbitt and other rioters from breaching the House Chambers. Photo: NBC YouTube screenshot

Byrd was one of the last lines of defense against a group of demonstrators who smashed one of the windows in a door to the Speaker’s Lobby, clamoring to get inside. Babbitt was at the front of the crowd and tried to climb in, but Byrd on the other side of the door protecting lawmakers inside, shot her in the shoulder. Babbitt later died of her injuries.

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The Justice Department investigated the shooting in April 2021 and determined that there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges against Byrd.

Trump and many of his supporters have called Babbitt — a 35-year-old Air Force veteran and Trump loyalist — a “martyr” for her actions and called Byrd “a disgrace.” During the town hall, he even called the insurrection a “beautiful day.”

Now that the story has resurfaced through Trump’s town hall comments, many of his supporters are flocking to his side and echoing his sentiments. Others, however, are condemning Trump’s comments and said Byrd was acting defensively against the rioters.

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