Former President Donald Trump’s tweet saying then-Vice President Mike Pence lacks the courage to reject the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021, gave the rioters a green light, said Sarah Matthews, the former deputy White House press secretary, in her testimony at Thursday’s public hearing.
The eighth hearing the select committee has held this summer focused on Trump’s 187-minute inaction between his speech and urging his supporters to leave the Capitol in a tweet.
Matthews, who resigned hours after the Capitol riot, testified on Thursday that the last thing needed in the violent and quickly escalating situation at the Capitol was the tweet about Pence.
She believes that instead of approving what rioters were doing at the steps of the Capitol and entering the Capitol and justifying their anger, which was essentially him giving the green light to these people, Trump should’ve condemned the violence and tell them to go home.
Trump’s tweet criticizing Pence for lacking the courage to protect the country and the Constitution, not abiding by his request, and rejecting the Electoral College vote for a number of states was published on Jan. 6, just before 2:30 p.m.
Matthews noted that Trump’s words had a strong effect on his supporters, adding that at that moment, it was like pouring gasoline on the fire and making it much worse.
Another person disturbed by the tweet was the deputy national security adviser to Trump, Matthew Pottinger, who testified in person alongside Matthews on Thursday, noting he was worried by Trump’s attack on Pence for doing his constitutional duty.
Just like Matthews, he too decided to resign from his post after reading Trump’s tweet not wanting to be associated with the events that were unfolding in the Capitol.
During the hearing, the committee also played parts of the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony saying the unpatriotic tweet made her frustrated, disappointed and disgusted.