Former Attorney General William Barr issued a scathing rebuke of President Trump on Thursday, saying he committed a “betrayal of his office and supporters” in his response to the mob of pro-Trump rioters that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable,” said Barr, formerly one of Trump’s most loyal backers. “The President’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters.”
A day earlier as the crowd of Trump supporters forced their way past security at the Capitol, Barr condemned the violence and exhorted federal authorities to quell the riot.
“The violence at the Capitol Building is outrageous and despicable,” Barr said on Wednesday. “Federal agencies should move immediately to disperse it.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump held a rally in front of the White House and repeated his claim that the presidential election was rife with voter fraud and that he had in fact won a second term. He urged his supporters to go to the Capitol, where Congress was in the process of certifying the electoral votes from each state.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump told the crowd during the rally. “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
The president also complained about Barr during his remarks to supporters, lamenting his former attorney general’s apparent shift in attitude towards him.
“All of a sudden, Bill Barr changed. You hadn’t noticed,” Trump said. “I like Bill Barr, but he changed. Because he didn’t want to be considered my personal attorney.”
Barr resigned from his post at the head of the Justice Department last month, shortly after he contradicted Trump, saying the DOJ had seen no evidence of widespread election fraud.
“Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance,” Barr wrote in his resignation letter. “Few could have weathered these attacks, much less forge ahead with a positive program for the country.”
Four people died during the riot on Wednesday, three due to “medical emergencies” according to police, and one woman who was fatally shot by Capitol Police.