- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2021

Former President Donald Trump is warning that Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally planned in support of those charged in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol will leave Republicans caught in a Catch-22.

Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Federalist he believed the Washington D.C. rally was a “setup,” adding that his supporters will find themselves in a negative situation whether they show up or stay home.

“On Saturday, that’s a setup,” Mr. Trump said. “If people don’t show up, they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s a lack of spirit.’ And if people do show up they’ll be harassed.”

Mr. Trump, however, expressed sympathy for some of the defendants being charged in connection with the violent events of the day, and complained left-wing protests were not receiving the same legal scrutiny from federal prosecutors.

“People are so disgusted with the way people are being treated from the Jan. 6 situation,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s a combination of that compared to how Antifa and BLM were treated. When you compare the treatment, it is so unjust, it is so unfair. It’s disgraceful.”

Matt Braynard, the executive director of the nonprofit Look Ahead America and a former Trump campaign official, said the goal of the rally is to show support for a fair trial and jail conditions for those being charged.

Mr. Trump also lambasted former President George W. Bush over his comments on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that seemingly compared the event to Jan. 6 and warned of the threat from domestic extremists.

Mr. Trump described Mr. Bush as “one of the worst presidents in history,” blaming him for the current, chaotic situation in Afghanistan.

“Bush now goes around lecturing everybody about all sorts of things, and he shouldn’t be lecturing anybody, because he’s the one who got us into the mess of the Middle East,” Mr. Trump said. “In the 20 years since, it’s been obliterated, and it’s probably in worse shape now than it’s ever been because of him.”

In the same interview, Mr. Trump also took a shot at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he has reportedly not spoken to in several months since he left office.

Mr. Trump has attacked the Kentucky Republican openly in the press and at a number of events, after Mr. McConnell blamed Mr. Trump for what happened on Jan. 6.

“I think Mitch McConnell has proven to be a disaster,” Mr. Trump said. “He‘s not good for the Republican Party as a leader, and I wish I wouldn’t have endorsed him.”

Mr. Trump urged Senate Republicans to consider a new leader for their caucus.

“The Senate has to make a change at some point,” he said. “I don’t think it’s acceptable having him as a leader.”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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