Donald Trump defended Ashli Babbitt as a “patriot” and slammed the police officer who shot and killed her as a “thug” during Wednesday’s CNN town hall event.
Babbitt, a Trump supporter and Air Force veteran, was the only person killed during the January 6th Capitol riot when she was gunned down by Capitol Police officer Lieutenant Michael Byrd.
Town hall moderator Kaitlan Collins pointed out that “over 140 officers were injured” during the course of the riot.
“And a person named Ashli Babbitt was killed,” Trump countered. “And she shouldn’t have been killed.”
“And that thug that killed her, there was no reason to shoot her,” the former President continued. “She was a good person. She was a patriot.”
“There was no reason.”
Asked about endangering police officers on 1/6, Donald Trump defends Ashli Babbitt and attacks the officer who killed her as a “thug”:
“Ashli Babbitt was killed … And that thug that killed her, there was no reason to shoot her … She was a good person. She was a patriot.” pic.twitter.com/gKuyj6CaOG
— The Recount (@therecount) May 11, 2023
Trump Hammers Officer Who Killed Ashli Babbitt
Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2024 – and, currently, the leading candidate overall – continued to criticize Byrd for his reaction after the shooting of Ashli Babbitt.
“He went on television to brag about the fact that he killed her,” he accused.
Collins countered that the officer wasn’t bragging about his actions but Trump wasn’t having it saying, “Oh, he was bragging.”
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Byrd, in an interview with MSNBC, suggested his actions “saved countless lives” by protecting lawmakers and said taking down Babbitt, who was unarmed but tried to climb through broken glass into the House chamber, showed the “utmost courage.”
Which, contrary to what Collins believes, sounds like somebody bragging.
Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot, says he has been in hiding for months after he received a flood of death threats and racist attacks.
“I believe I showed the utmost courage on Jan. 6 and it’s time for me to do that now” pic.twitter.com/2kaAxy8yGc
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 26, 2021
Trump’s Past Comments on Byrd
This isn’t the first time Trump has heavily criticized the actions of the officer who opened fire on Ashli Babbitt during the riot.
Responding to comments back in February by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy saying Byrd simply “did his job,” Trump again countered that the officer was a “thug.”
Trump said he “totally disagree(s)” with McCarthy’s assessment, calling Byrd a “coward” and insisting Babbitt “was murdered.”
“He was not a hero but a COWARD, who wanted to show how tough he was,” Trump said on his Truth Social media platform. “ASHLI BABBITT WAS MURDERED!!!”
Internal documents from DC Metropolitan Police, obtained through a FOIA lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show witnesses had not seen Babbitt holding a weapon.
They also provide conflicting reports as to whether she was even verbally warned before being fired upon by Byrd.
Lt. Michael Byrd would have been charged for manslaughter — if not murder — had he shot Ashli Babbitt in Texas.
She was unarmed and presented no threat to herself or the officer.
— Congressman Troy E. Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) October 13, 2021
The revelations prompted Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton to declare there was “no good reason” to shoot Babbitt.
“The Biden-Garland Justice Department … have much to answer for over the mishandling and cover-up of this scandalous killing of an American citizen by the U.S. Capitol Police,” Fitton said.
Byrd, though, had been exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing and was cleared internally by the Capitol Police Department in August of 2021.
The internal review “determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy,” according to a statement by Capitol Police, and as such he would not face disciplinary action.
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