Mar 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump pledges to free Jan. 6 rioters in early act as president if elected

 Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump reacts to supporters as he arrives on stage during a Get Out the Vote Rally March 2, 2024 in Richmond, Virginia.

Republican presidential candidate former President Trump in Richmond, Virginia, earlier this month. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Trump vowed Monday to "free" Jan. 6 rioters as one of his first acts if he's elected for a second term in November.

Why it matters: Trump's comments on his Truth Social platform appear to mark the first time the likely Republican presidential nominee has indicated that releasing those imprisoned over the U.S. Capitol riot would be an early priority of his presidency.

What he's saying: "My first acts as your next President will be to Close the Border, DRILL, BABY, DRILL, and Free the January 6 Hostages being wrongfully imprisoned!" Trump wrote on Monday evening, in reference to the prisoners.

By the numbers: "In the 38 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,358 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol," per the latest Justice Department statement.

Zoom out: The description by Trump and others of those convicted over the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol as "hostages" was denounced by a Reagan-appointed federal judge in D.C. as "preposterous."

  • U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said in January he was "shocked to watch some public figures try to rewrite history" in regards to the riot.

Go deeper: White House slams Trump for referring to jailed Jan. 6 rioters as "hostages"

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