Donald Trump still hasn’t learned his lesson.
More than a year removed from January 6, 2021, Trump told The Washington Post in an interview Wednesday that he regretted not marching down to the US Capitol that day with the rioters who overran the building.
“Secret Service said I couldn’t go,” Trump said. “I would have gone there in a minute.”
Consider, for a minute, what the former President is saying there. When he thinks back on a day that left several people dead and more than a hundred police officers wounded, his big regret is that he didn’t march with the mob to the Capitol building. Not that people lost their lives. Not that lawmakers feared for their well-being. Not that it took him several hours of watching the riot unfold on TV before issuing a lukewarm call for the rioters to go home.
Even by Trumpian standards, that is appalling. But it’s not the only stunning thing he said in the interview with the Post.
Trump also fixated on the crowd size at the “Stop the Steal” rally that he addressed prior to the riot. “The crowd was far bigger than I even thought,” he said. “I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to. I don’t know what that means, but you see very few pictures. They don’t want to show pictures, the fake news doesn’t want to show pictures.”
Again, let’s be clear on what Trump is doing here. He wants credit for drawing a big crowd for a rally expressly aimed at protesting the 2020 election – the same crowd that subsequently stormed the Capitol and left chaos and destruction in its wake.
So, to summarize, the two biggest problems about January 6 from Trump’s perspective are:
1) He didn’t get to march to the Capitol with the rioters.
2) The media didn’t accurately reflect the size of the crowd.
In short: He just doesn’t get it. Or he doesn’t care to get it.
For Trump, January 6 was just another day where he drew a big crowd and the media didn’t give him credit. That’s the lesson he “learned” from that day.
Which matters. Not just because Trump seems blissfully unaware of what happened – and what he sanctioned that day – but because Trump looks and sounds very much like someone who is going to run for president again in 2024.
Trump appears to not have reflected, for even a minute, about the role he played on January 6 – and what an insurrection at the Capitol means for the present and future of democracy.
In fact, in the interview with the Post, Trump continued to suggest that he could – and should – be reinstated, somehow, as president. Of course, President Joe Biden won the 2020 election fair and square, and there is absolutely no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
“I believe when you see massive election fraud, I can’t imagine that somebody who won the election based on fraud, that something doesn’t happen,” he asked. “How has it not happened? If you are a bank robber, or you’re a jewelry store robber, and you go into Tiffany’s and you steal their diamonds and get caught, you have to give the diamonds back.”
Remember that those who don’t – or choose not to – learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Which makes what Trump said Wednesday all the scarier.