Former President Trump said Thursday that he “totally” disagrees with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on the death of Ashli Babbitt, a Jan. 6 rioter who was shot and killed by Capitol Police.
After Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed on Tuesday that Babbitt had been murdered during the pro-Trump insurrection, McCarthy broke with the Georgia congresswoman, who has become one of his most important supporters within the Republican conference.
“I think the police officer did his job,” McCarthy told reporters when asked if he agreed with Greene’s take on Babbitt’s death.
Trump fired back in a post on Truth Social, claiming that the officer “was not just ‘doing his job’ when he shot and killed Great Patriot Ashli Babbitt at point blank range.”
“He was not a hero but a COWARD, who wanted to show how tough he was,” Trump added. “ASHLI BABBITT WAS MURDERED!!!”
Babbitt was attempting to climb through a shattered window into the Speaker’s gallery just off the House floor on Jan. 6, 2021, when she was fatally shot by Lt. Michael Byrd. Lawmakers were still being evacuated from the House chamber at the time.
Byrd was formally exonerated in August 2021, after an internal investigation found his “conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life.”
The Capitol Police noted that Byrd’s actions “potentially saved Members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where Members and staff were steps away.”
McCarthy has sought to walk a fine line when it comes to the events of Jan. 6, distancing himself from the actions of the rioters while maintaining the favor of Trump and his base.