Donald Trump, reacting to bombshell testimony against him in Tuesday’s Jan. 6 congressional hearings, rolled out a well-worn strategy after former associates make headlines that call his character, competence or morality into question.
Posting on the Truth Social account that has become his de facto mouthpiece amid a Twitter ban and a two-year Facebook suspension, Trump attempted to blast former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson as she testified in front of the special committee.
“I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and ‘leaker’),” Trump wrote, about the former top aide to his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose office was several doors down from Trump’s Oval Office, as the Jan. 6 panel showed in a diagram at the top of their Tuesday session.
“And when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down,” Trump continued, contradicting the earlier part of his statement that he barely knew Hutchinson, who in fact had taken part in several key White House discussions and meetings after the 2020 election as Trump attempted to overturn the results. She was also working inside the West Wing during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Hutchinson, after several closed-door sessions with the House special committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, testified to the panel Tuesday in hearings broadcast live to millions of viewers. Her testimony revealed shocking, previously unknown details about Trump’s behavior on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible?” Trump said in his statement, suggesting Hutchinson was perjuring herself as part of a vendetta against the former president. “I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn’t want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!”
Tuesday’s statement was among a long list of people Trump has claimed to be unfamiliar with who had detailed his wrongdoing, questioned his fitness for presidential office or whose association put him in a bad light. They range from Jeffrey Epstein to George Conway to Paul Manafort to Stormy Daniels to many more, as Time magazine and Business Insider have detailed.
“I never even talked to the guy,” Trump once told Fox News about George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy adviser for his 2016 presidential campaign and whom Trump called “an excellent guy” during a meeting with The Washington Post. “I didn’t know who he was.”
Trump once repeatedly claimed he didn’t know a U.S. senator despite saying in the same comments he had met him and “shook his hand.”
“I’m not sure I ever met Bob Casey, I never met him,” Trump said about the longtime Pennsylvania Democrat before changing his mind — twice.
“I’m sure I did, I shook his hand. His father was a good man, a totally different person. I don’t think — I don’t know this man. He’s a senator. There’s 100 senators. I don’t know him.”