Former President Donald Trump tried to wrestle the steering wheel from his security detail and later threw his lunch against the wall in a fit of rage after his top advisers wouldn’t allow him to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to testimony from a former West Wing aide.
Cassidy Hutchinson, then assistant to chief of staff Mark Meadows, recounted to the Jan. 6 select committee how Trump grew enraged when his lawyers, top lawmakers, and security refused to let him go to the Capitol Building following his Ellipse speech on the day of the Jan. 6 riot. She recounted how Bobby Engel, the special agent in charge of Trump’s security that day, related the president’s enraged reaction in the car after being told he wasn’t going to the Capitol.
“The president had very strong, very angry response to that. Tony [Ornato] described him as being irate. The president said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now.’ To which Bobby responded, ‘Sir, you have to go back to the West Wing,'” Hutchinson said. “The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’ Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel.”
Trump expressed similar anger on Dec. 1, 2020, Hutchinson revealed, after the attorney general gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Department of Justice did not find evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
“[The valet] motioned for me to come in [to the dining room] and then pointed towards the front of the room near the fireplace mantel on the TV, and I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall and there’s a shattered porcelain plate on the floor,” she said. “The valet had articulated that the president was extremely angry at the attorney general’s AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall.”
The first part of Hutchinson’s testimony focused on how multiple people were telling Trump that going to the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 was a bad idea, and likely illegal.
Legal counsel Pat Cipollone told Hutchinson, “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable” if the president went to the Capitol, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also texted that Trump shouldn’t come.
Trump called Hutchinson “bad news” in a statement on Truth Social, saying he “hardly know[s]” her.
“I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and ‘leaker’), and when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down,” he wrote. “Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible? I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn’t want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!”
This sixth June hearing came as a surprise after the committee said last week that the hearings wouldn’t resume until July.