On the third anniversary of the Capitol Hill protest and on the heels of an announcement by U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves that the Justice Department is reserving the option to prosecute nonviolent individuals who did not even enter the Capitol building, former President Donald Trump roundly rebuked the treatment protesters have received.
He called out the Biden administration for unfairly targeting his supporters with inflated charges and unwarranted prison sentences upon conviction.
“They ought to release them,” he told a crowd in Iowa on Saturday. “I call them hostages. Some people call them prisoners; I call them hostages.”
Trump then called on President Joe Biden directly to step in on behalf of those convicted of crimes related to the protest.
“Release the J6 hostages, Joe,” he asserted. “Release them, Joe. You can do them real easy, Joe.”
The former president delivered his remarks the day after Biden unleashed a contemptuous attack on both Trump and the Jan. 6 protesters in a speech he gave in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
In an address that rehashed grievances that date back to before he was even inaugurated, the president claimed without a hint of irony: “Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice democracy to put himself in power.”
Repeating the increasingly common Democratic Party rhetoric describing the U.S. government as a “democracy” rather than a constitutional republic, Biden claimed that Trump represents an existential threat to that system.
“Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past, it’s what he’s promising with the future,” Biden said. “He’s being straightforward. He’s not hiding the ball.”
In a social media statement on Monday, Trump turned the tables on his successor, portraying Biden as a threat to the nation due, at least in part, to the Justice Department’s indictment against him. He went on to signal that Biden should be on the receiving end of criminal charges.
“Joe would be ripe for Indictment,” Trump wrote. “By weaponizing the DOJ against his Political Opponent, ME, Joe has opened a giant Pandora’s Box. As President, I was protecting our Country, and doing a great job of doing so, just look around at the complete mess that Crooked Joe Biden has caused. The least I am entitled to is Presidential Immunity on Fake Biden Indictments!”