Former US President Donald Trump at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 28, 2022. (Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
- Some White House staffers heard that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol on Jan 6 and laughed it off.
- Judd Deere told the committee he hadn’t seen Trump “walk across a golf course without a golf cart.”
- Deere, then the White House Deputy Press Secretary, also said he typed a resignation letter on Jan 6.
- For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
A handful of then-President Donald Trump’s aides heard ahead of January 6, 2021, that he might be planning to walk with supporters down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol as a Joint Session of Congress met to certify the election results.
According to the former White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere, they laughed it off – it just wasn’t realistic for Trump to walk that far.
“I’ve never seen the man walk across a golf course without a golf cart. I can’t imagine him walking up Pennsylvania Avenue,” Deere told investigators with the January 6 committee during a deposition in March 2022, adding that there were also “security concerns” about such a movement.
Deere told the committee that several days ahead of January 6, he had “jokingly” talked about the possibility of Trump going to the Capitol with Molly Michael and Nick Luna, two other Trump White House aides.
“It was lighthearted, in jest,” said Deere. “It was, ‘He said this today. You won’t believe what he said today.'”
He also told investigators that the trio didn’t discuss further details of the day during that conversation because “it was never serious that he was going to go the Capitol.”
Deere said he also sought to confirm on January 5 with Tony Ornato, then the Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House, that Trump was not planning on going to the Capitol the following day.
And Deere said that he still did not think that was the case even after Trump suggested during his speech on the Ellipse on January 6 that he would be joining the crowd of his supporters as they marched to the Capitol.
“I was 100% confident that we were not doing an additional movement,” Deere told investigators. “If the deputy chief of staff for operations told me we are not doing an additional movement, we are not doing an additional movement.”
In June, Cassidy Hutchinson revealed during an explosive January 6 committee hearing that Trump not only wanted to go the Capitol, but had attempted to grab the steering wheel of the SUV where he was sitting when he was told that he could not go. The committee later said in its preliminary final report that it had confirmed from other sources that a “furious interaction” had taken place.
Deere’s testimony suggests that many White House officials were unaware of Trump’s plan.
“I have heard rumor of that,” Deere told investigators, saying he couldn’t recall who he had heard it from. “I have heard that when he came off the stage, as well as even when he got back to the White House, he wanted to make the movement.”
Deere, who now serves as communications director for Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, also told the committee that he had encouraged Trump to concede after the Electoral College voted on December 14 and drafted a resignation letter on the night of January 6.
“January 6th was a sad and frustrating day, and I was hurt,” he said, adding that he pondered whether “we as staff had failed him.”
“Maybe I should have pushed harder,” he added.
Deere did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.