Six months after his supporters stormed the Capitol, Donald Trump is fixated on a deadly moment that claimed one of his supporters’ lives.
Ms. Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, was among the Trump supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in a last-ditch attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory. A devoted fan of Mr. Trump, she was also a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory. “Nothing will stop us,” she tweeted the day before the riot. “They can try and try and try, but the storm is here, and it is descending upon D.C. in less than 24 hours.” “The storm is here” is a common QAnon slogan.
She was shot dead by a police officer as she tried to force her way through a barricaded door. The Capitol riot happened six months ago, but Mr. Trump didn’t fully embrace Ms. Babbitt until the past two weeks.
Since that four-word statement, he has repeatedly brought up her death in public, calling her “innocent” and demanding that the officer who killed her be identified.
RELATED: Babbitt believed Trump was ‘worth dying for.’
“The person that shot Ashli Babbitt – boom, right through the head, just boom – there was no reason for that,” Mr. Trump said during a media conference in Bedminster, New Jersey on July 7, where he’d just announced a series of lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
“And why isn’t that person being opened up, and why isn’t that being studied? They’ve already written it off. They said that the case was closed.
“If that were the opposite, that case would be going on for years and years, and it would not be pretty.” He made these remarks in response to a question asking what he did to stop the insurrection while it was happening on January 6.
Yesterday, in an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, he went further. “Who shot Ashli Babbitt? Why are they keeping that secret?” Mr. Trump asked. “Who was the person who shot an innocent, fantastic, incredible woman, a military woman, right in the head?
“And there are no repercussions. If that were on the other side, it would be the biggest story in this country. Who shot Ashli Babbitt? People want to know. And why?” While the person who killed Ms. Babbitt has not been named, we do know what happened.
A Capitol Police officer shot her in her left shoulder (not in the head) as a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters tried to break through a barricaded door and enter the Speaker’s Lobby adjacent to the House of Representatives chamber.
At the time of the shooting, police were still evacuating members of Congress from the chamber.
Ms. Babbitt, at the front of the mob, was attempting to climb through a section of the door where the glass had been broken. One of the officers on the other side fired a single gunshot, which caused her to collapse backward. She received medical treatment at the scene and died in hospital shortly afterward. You can watch footage of the incident here.
The officer who shot Ms. Babbitt is a lieutenant. His lawyer has said he ordered rioters not to pass the barricade before opening fire along with other officers.
After a three-month investigation, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office decided not to charge him. “The investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the members of Congress,” they said.
“They know who shot Ashli Babbitt. They’re protecting that person,” Mr. Trump told Ms. Bartiromo yesterday. “I’ve also heard that it was the head of security for a certain high official. A Democrat. And we’ll see. Because it’s going to come out.”
Mr. Trump provided no evidence to support this theory. Today NBC News, citing a senior law enforcement official, reported the officer in question was not, in fact, part of a security detail for a member of Congress.